Navy Thwarts Attempt to Hijack Merchant Ship

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  • NAF takes delivery of super Mushshak aircraft

Paul Obi in Abuja

The Nigerian Navy has foiled an attempt to hijack a merchant vessel, MV UAL Houston around Bonny Fairway Buoy in Rivers State.

The incident occurred at weekend, when six suspected sea robbers boarded the vessel but were unable to access the ship’ s living quarters, bridge or machinery room as the ship was on lockdown by the crew.

According to Navy Director of Information, Captain Suleiman Dahun, “on receipt of the ship’s distress call, the Forward Operating Base (FOB) Bonny dispatched a boat to rescue the vessel.

“On sighting the naval patrol boat, the robbers abandoned their hijack plot and fled. Preliminary investigation revealed that no crew member was abducted or any item stolen during the attack.

In a related development, the Nigerian Navy has continued the recent trend of successes in its operations against crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and other illegal activities in the Niger Delta. To this end, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder has destroyed seven illegal refineries around Bolo Creek and Isaka axis in Rivers State.

Sahun said: “The illegal refineries destroyed at Bolo Creek had several storage tanks and two wooden boats laden with about 80,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil and 65,000 litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).
“Furthermore, the illegal refineries destroyed in Isaka axis had storage pits laden with 45,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil and 5,000 litres of illegally refined AGO.

“Similarly, a patrol team deployed by the Forward Operating Base (FOB) Bonny arrested a vessel, MT Leadership around Onne axis for conducting illegal bunkering operations.

“The vessel was arrested receiving unspecified amount of petroleum products suspected to be illegally refined AGO from a barge without valid naval approval. The vessel had 12 crewmen while 16 men were on the barge.

“The vessel and the barge are currently under the custody of the Base while investigation is ongoing. In view of the foregoing, the Nigerian Navy wishes to reiterate that the clampdown on illegal refineries and their operators, crude oil thieves and other criminal activities in the maritime domain will continue to meet operational objectives in line with the Chief of Naval Staff’s strategic directive,” Dahun stated.

In another development, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has taken delivery of the first batch of five out of 10 Super Mushshak aircraft expected from Pakistan.

NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya explained that “the first batch of the trainer aircraft, which is for the primary flying training of NAF pilots at 401 Flying Training School, Kaduna, was received on arrival by the Air Officer Commanding Air Training Command, Air Vice Marshal Chris Okoye.
“It would be recalled that the NAF inducted the Super Mushshak aircraft into the NAF inventory on December 5, 2016. This followed the kind gesture of the Pakistan Government to temporarily make four Super Mushshak aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force available to the NAF, at no cost, to immediately commence the training of NAF pilots.

“Since then, the in-house training of NAF pilots had resumed in earnest. With the arrival of the first batch of the NAF’s trainer aircraft, the local training of NAF student pilots will receive a boost at a much reduced cost.
“The new aircraft will soon be inducted into service after assembly and successful test flights,” Adesanya assured.