Ten Bulker Crew Members Saved from Pirate Hands off Nigeria

Armed pirates boarded a drifting bulk carrier around 17 nautical miles south-southwest (SSW) off Bonny Island, Nigeria on November 11 and kidnapped ten of its crew members.

The pirates reportedly entered the bridge and fired their weapons damaging the bridge windows.

“They stole ship’s properties, crew personal belongings, kidnapped 10 crew and escaped in their boat,” according to a report from ICC IMB.

The UK-flagged bulker has been identified as the 2012-built Venus Bay owned by Pioneer Marine, and was on its way toward the Nigerian port of Onne when the attack occurred.

“The V.Ships managed bulk carrier Venus Bay came under attack on November 11 from armed pirates on a fast moving speedboat. The vessel had just arrived at the Bonny Pilot Station, Nigeria and was awaiting the pilot,” a spokesperson of V.Ships told World Maritime News in a statement.

“The Master raised the alarm and contacted the authorities, but the crew had no time to get into the Citadel.”

Once informed of the attack, the Nigerian navy sent a patrol boat to the scene.

Due to a prompt reaction from two Nigerian navy vessels, the pirates were intercepted and the kidnapped crew released. Five pirates have been apprehended in the operation.

“All 10 crew members were safely returned to the bulk carrier. One engineer suffered a leg injury and was taken to hospital for treatment.

“Crew members were encouraged to call family members on their safe return and V.Ships is providing all the support necessary to them following the traumatic event, ” the spokesperson added.

The ship was escorted into the inner anchorage and armed guards were placed onboard during the vessel’s stay.

On November 12, 2017, the ship resumed passage under naval escort to Port Harcourt and berthed, the IMB said.

According to maritime security firm Dryad Maritime, the pirate group has stalked the sea south of Bonny in recent months.

Venus Bay, fully laden, is currently moored at Port Harcourt, based on its latest AIS data.

World Maritime News Staff

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