Over the weekend, Nigerian Navy forces managed to stop pirates from attacking a product tanker in Lagos. The vessel was en route to Nigeria, carrying a cargo of petroleum. It was later identified as being the MT Imas.
The ship was followed by two speed boats with a total of ten men, who subsequently managed to successfully board the vessel.
Before the pirates took complete control of the tanker, its crew was able to issue a distress call.
A Western Naval Command (WNC) patrol boat from the Nigerian Navy was in the vicinity and managed to locate the tanker just in time – the navy officials were able to capture the pirates in question after a short-lived fire exchange.
“The pirates intended to board the tanker and then kidnap the foreign seafarers that were on board at the time or steal the vessel’s cargo, or they could have even taken the ship hostage and then sold the cargo elsewhere. Fortunately, the crew managed to send out a distress signal and we were able to foil the attack,” WNC Flag Officer Commanding, Rear Admiral Jonathan Ango commented.
Ango added that the Navy appointed patrol boats in the area amid recent elections. Nigeria’s government ordered the closing of both the country’s sea and land borders from midnight of March 25th till the conclusion of the polling date in order to further strengthen security while current elections are being carried out.
This current attack was preceded by an incident involving two robbers that were able to board a product tanker that was anchored at Lagos Anchorage, Nigeria. The events of this particular case took place only a few days before the current accident.
According to reports Nigerian Navy officials, who were onboard the vessel at the time, managed to spot the robbers and subsequently fired warning shots followed by the robbers jumping overboard in an attempt of escaping.
A Nigerian patrol vessel later on captured one of the two men. There were no reports of injuries regarding any of the tanker’s crew members.