Ghanaians on fishing vessel die fleeing from pirates

PiratesOne Ghanaian sailor on board a Chinese fishing vessel, Lu Rong Yuan Yu 917, died when he jumped into the sea to avoid 10 weapon wielding pirates who hijacked the vessel in Ghanaian waters.

Naval Officials believed he was caught up by the pirates before he jumped into the sea and subsequently dying.

Lieutenant Maxwell Asola, Public Relations Officer for the Eastern Naval Command, told journalists that the corpse has been deposited at a mortuary in Lome, Togo awaiting autopsy.

Lieutenant Asola said four other Ghanaian sailors were also feared dead as they had been declared missing after jumping into the sea.

He disclosed that the Togolese Navy has mounted a search for the four missing sailors.

He stated that the vessel was hijacked by the pirates on January 28, when it sailed in the waters of Ghana.

Lieutenant Michael Agyare Asiamah, Officer at the Navy Headquarters, Operations Department, said officers of his outfit on Saturday, January 31, received a call informing them of the vessel being hijacked.

Lieutenant Asiamah indicated that even though they informed the Eastern Naval Base to act swiftly on it, they called the Togolese Navy to stand by when they realized the vessel was almost in Togolese waters.

The Togolese Navy, he said, acted swiftly to save six Chinese and 22 Ghanaian crew members when they were informed about the arrival of the vessel in Togo.

According to him, the Togolese Navy allowed them passage into Nigerian waters because the pirates were still in control of the vessel, and had held some of the Chinese hostage at gun point.

Lieutenant Asiamah said the vessel then entered Nigerian waters where the pirates abandoned it.

He added, however, that they were yet to receive information from the Nigerian Navy what happened before the vessel was abandoned, and why the pirates left behind some of their weapons.

Lieutenant Commander Victor Fiankoo, Commanding Officer on the Ghana Navy Ship Chemley, said he received information from the Eastern Naval Command on the abandonment of the fishing vessel.

Lieutenant Fiankoo noted that they sailed to the Eastern Border on Tuesday, February 3 and subsequently intercepted the vessel and screened it on Wednesday after which it was escorted to the Fishing Harbour at about 2000 hours.

He said weapons retrieved from the vessel included 10 home made explosives, two riffles, seven rounds of ammunition, two charts, three explosive fuses, one empty cartridge, one touch light, one handbag and two cigarette sticks.

Mr Godfrey Baidoo Tibu, Head of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Division of the Fisheries Commission, said information came through to the monitoring centre on the hijack and they relayed it to the Navy.
Mr Tibu said the information came through because of the tracking device put on the vessel in accordance with the fisheries regulations.

He, however, stated that the tracking device was unable to detect what was happening to the crew members at any given time.

Source: GNA

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