Ghana’s Navy has managed to free a tanker ship that was previously hijacked off the coast of Nigeria. Eight pirates suspected for the seizing of the vessel MT Mariam have been arrested by the authorities.
The number of pirate attacks has drastically increased in West Africa during recent years, resulting in rising insurance costs for shipping companies. According to experts gangs based in the waters off Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, are spreading across the region’s Gulf of Guinea.
Colonel Aggrey Qaurshie did not comment when the MT Mariam was captured by the pirates. The owners of the small tanker vessel informed, via an onboard tracking device, the Ghanian authorities of the ship’s location in the Ghanian waters on Saturday.
“The Ghana Navy reacted adequately by sending a patrol team to the area in question and they managed to overpower the pirates and free the tanker ship. But, unfortunately, when they arrived on the scene, the cargo had already been transferred to another vessel,” Quarshie commented.
“It was not immediately made clear what exactly the cargo of the ship was. None of the crew members were harmed,” Quarshie added.
The pirates, armed with weapons such as AK-47 rifles, were arrested by the authority officials after which they were handed over to Ghana’s Bureau of National Investigations. Cash was also recovered during the course of the operation.
“All of the arrested pirates are suspected to be Nigerians,” Quarshie said while also adding that Ghana’s Navy and other forces from Togo, Benin as well as Nigeria have initiated search operations regarding the ship transporting the stolen cargo.