10 suspected pirates to face trials under new anti-piracy law

  • Jamoh stresses need for inter-agency collaboration in maritime security

Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft, Commodore Ibrahim Shettima (right), with the Head, Legal Services, NIMASA, Mr. Victor Egejuru, after the suspected pirates were paraded at the NNS Beecroft, Apapa, Lagos

Nigeria will begin the prosecution of criminals in international waters under the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences (SPOMO) Act with the 10 suspected pirates who allegedly attacked and boarded the Chinese vessel, MV HAILUFANG II.

The suspected bandits were said to have attacked the vessel on May 15, 2020, off the coast of Cote d’Ivoire and directed it towards Nigerian waters, where they were arrested by the Nigerian Navy, which dispatched a ship to intercept them following an alert. 

Speaking in Lagos during the navy’s handover of the suspects for prosecution, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said their arrest and rescue of the ship and its crew were made possible by the collaboration between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy.

Jamoh, who was represented by the Head of Legal Services, Mr. Victor Egejuru, assured that agency would continue to work with relevant security agencies to eradicate piracy and all forms of criminalities on the Nigerian waters, a statement by the NIMASA Head of Corporate Communications, Philip Kyanet, noted.

“We have just witnessed the handover of pirates. This is as a result of the robust collaboration between NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy,” he added. “There has been a lot of synergy between NIMASA and the Navy with regards to the Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act.

“I also want to seize the opportunity to thank Mr. President for signing the anti-piracy law, which would facilitate sufficient prosecution of these pirates.”

According to him, the anti-piracy law provides an ample legal framework to prosecute pirates and other perpetrators of maritime offences in the country, to bring the menace to the barest minimum.

On his part, the Commander of Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft, Commodore Ibrahim Shettima, said the vessel had 18 crew members comprising Chinese, Ghanaians and Ivoiriens.

“On interception of the vessel about 140nm south of Lagos Fairway Buoy, the pirates had refused to comply with the orders of the Navy ship, hence the Nigerian Navy had to conduct an opposed boarding of the vessel. All ship crew were safely rescued, while the 10 pirates were also arrested,” he explained.

Shettima called for increased regional cooperation and information sharing, noting that the pirates were arrested following a tip-off by the Beninoise Navy, even as he assured that the navy has the capability to deal with threats of maritime criminalities.

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