Despite the Federal Government’s efforts in deploying 30 gunboats to patrol and police the waterways and creeks in the Niger Delta during the just-concluded elections in the country, armed men suspected to be sea pirates have attacked an offshore vessel near Bonny Island in Rivers State.
A source told The Tide correspondent in Port Harcourt that six armed men stormed the offshore vessel FPSO, and after some sporadic shooting, boarded the vessel and allegedly abducted three crew members of the boat away to an unknown destination.
The source revealed that the fate of the abducted men was still unknown.
However, the source could not ascertain if the gunboats so deployed would be withdrawn after the election as they are originally meant to police oil pipelines vandalisation in the Niger Delta.
Meanwhile, another report has it that an attempt by some sea pirates to attack another vessel about 22 nautical miles off the coast of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, was foiled by the Nigerian Navy.
A source who told our correspondent in Port Harcourt could not ascertain if there were casualties.
Another source also disclosed that three armed pirates boarded an offshore supply vessel MV Wide beast in the INIM field, off the coast of Akwa-Ibom State.
The source said all the crew members on board were mustered in the ship’s citadel and a distress call was made and MV Augustina quickly responded.
But before the arrival of MV Augustina to repel the attack, the pirates had disembarked from the vessel and sped-off with their boat.
It was not clear as at the time of filing this report whether the sea pirates were able to cart away anything from the vessel.
When contacted in his office in Port Harcourt, yesterday, the Eastern Zonal Co-ordinator of NIMASA, Mr Anthony Ogadi said there was no official report of such incident to his office as gunboats were dispatched every morning at Bonny to patrol and police the area.
Ogadi noted that if such attack actually took place, his office would be the first to know, pointing out that it might be the local crafts that are not registered with NIMASA, and when they are called for a workshop, they felt reluctant that they knew the terrain.