Two tuna vessels hijacked, three Korean crew members missing

Two Ghanaian tuna vessels were on March 26, hijacked by suspected pirates around Keta and three Korean crew members were taken captives.

The whereabouts of the Koreans, who were the captain, the chief officer, and the chief engineer of the vessels which belonged to World Marine Company Limited ,are yet to be known.

Information gathered by the Ghana News Agency indicated that the pirates reached the vessels by speed boats at about 17:20 hours on March 26 while sailing to bait grounds to fish for anchovy.

The pirates were said to have released the vessels on March 27, at about 17:30 hours, which berthed at the Tema Fishing Harbour anchorage on Wednesday.   

Mr Daniel Mensah, Second Officer in one of the hijacked vessels, told the media upon their return that the pirates who sounded Nigerian, were nine in number and carrying guns.

Mr Mensah added that they took them hostage at Keta and directed them through Togo, Benin and ended up in Nigerian waters.

According to him, the crew members had to lie several times under duress to Nigeria security who were communicating with them on the vessel’s VHS gadget after spotting them in their waters.

He admitted that there were no security personnel on board the vessels adding that sailors often acted in that position and inform their captains and chief engineer of any dangers and they in turn, inform the Ghana Navy.

Mr Godfrey Baidoo-Tsibu, Head of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance at the Fisheries Commission, Ghana, said even though they were seeing the movements of the vessels throughout the hijacked period, they were unable to communicate with them due to the switching off of the communication gadget.

Mr Baidoo-Tsibu regretted that such hijacking in Ghana’s waters could have dared consequences on fishing activities adding that it brought cost to the company and psychological trauma to crew members.

He wondered why the vessels had no security on them stating that it was about time vessel operators took their security more serious and report any suspicious movements on sea and at anchorage to the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) or the Fisheries Commission.

Commodore James O. Kontoh, Flag Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Base, on his part, said the Navy was collecting the necessary information on the incident to enable them locate the missing crew members.

Commodore Kontoh gave the assurance that his outfit was doing their best to provide the needed security.

Source: GNA

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