The Ghana Navy has arrested eight pirates, identified as Nigerians, who are suspected of hijacking a crude oil tanker MT Mariam off the coast of Nigeria.
The tanker was detected in Ghanaian waters on Saturday, Reuters reports, via the vessel’s onboard tracking device.
The navy’s patrol vessel GNS Blika was dispatched to the scene, some 26 nautical miles south east of Tema, where the tanker had drifted.
However, the pirates had already siphoned the vessel’s cargo when the navy arrived on scene.
The owner of MT Mariam, Mr Nakase Sunday told journalists in Tema that the hijacking occurred in the early morning of January 11, at Warri in Nigeria, adding that the vessel was loaded with approximately 1,500 metric tones of crude oil when it was captured by the pirates, Ghana Web informed.
The oil tanker was heading to Togo when it was seized.
The pirates are reported to had been armed with weapons including AK-47 rifles.
Colonel Aggrey Quarshie told Reuters that the pirates have been handed over to Ghana’s Bureau of National Investigations.
The nine-member crew are said to be safe.
Search for the ship carrying the stolen cargo is underway and it includes military forces from Togo, Benin and Nigeria, as explained by Quarshie.
MT Mariam is currently docked at the Tema Port and is under armed guard.
World Maritime News Staff; Image: mofa