Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Nigerian Navy has said that its ship, Dorina, rescued a Cameronian flagged ship, Afki, which was adrift at sea for one month.
It said the vessel drifted of course for four weeks following which the Embassy of Netherlands issued a note verbale.
The Navy said in a statement that by the note verbale issued by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the incident occurred on 24 October 2023 when MFV AFKI was enroute from Banjul in Gambia to the Congo Kinshasa for delivery of the vessel.
“On November 1, 2023, the Nigerian Navy (NN) received a distress information requesting assistance for the rescue of a Cameroonian – Flagged Motor Fishing Vessel AFKI (MFV AFKI) with registration number UK12 and IMO number
“The fishing Vessel reportedly had drifted off her course for 4 weeks. According to available information from a Note Verbale issued by the Embassy of the kingdom of the Netherlands, the incident occurred on 24 October 2023 when MFV AFKI was enroute from Bangul in Gambia to the Congo Kinshasa for delivery of the vessel”, it said.
The statement signed by the Spokesman of the Nigerian Navy, Commodore Ayo-Vaughan, said while in transit, the vessel suffered depleted fuel to her propulsion engines which resulted to her drifting off the coast of Sao Tome and Principe into the Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone. “Unfortunately, all efforts by the vessel owners to trace its location for possible rescue proved abortive. However, further surveillance revealed that the last known location of the vessel was as at about 72 nautical miles from the Nigerian coast.
“Consequently, the NN swiftly deployed Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) DORINA the Maritime Domain Awareness facilities for Search and Rescue Operation (SAR). “Accordingly, on 17 November 2023 at about 2000 hours, after frantic surveillance by the deployed NN platform, NNS DORINA traced and made contact with the
vessel 17 nautical miles off.
Pennington terminal”, it said.
The Navy affirmed that upon rescuing of the vessel, two foreign crew members were confirmed onboard.
“Pertinently, due diligence was made by NNS DORINA Boarding Party to ascertain the status of the vessel and her involvement in any untoward activities.
“It was however discovered that the vessel actually had no incriminating items onboard. Therafter, NNS DORINA towed MFV AFKI with the assistance of NNS IKENNE to Escravos, Delta State where NN Forward Operating Base ESCRAVOS took custody of the fishing vessel for further administrative procedures in preparation to hand over the vessel to the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands”, it said.
It noted that MFV AFKI was adrift for almost one month before the NN rescued her.
“The NN wishes to use this opportunity to once again reassure seafarers and indeed other maritime operators of its commitments to collaborate with local and strategic partners and allies to ensure the safety and security of vessels as well as crew members who carry out legitimate businesses in or transit Nigerian maritime environment.
“In this regard, the deployment of NN platforms in the search and rescue of the Cameroonian registered fishing vessel, MFV AFKI is in line with the NN’s statutory role for Safety of Life at Sea, (SAR)and also in line with the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla’s command philosophy which is “to lead the NN with integrity, courage and relentless pursuit for excellence through teamwork, discipline and human capacity building, whilst upholding highest standard and professionalism, ethics and respect for human right”, it said.