The Nigeria Navy (NN) says it has rescued a Cameroonian-flagged Motor Fishing Vessel AFKI (MFV AFKI) which had reportedly drifted off her course for 4 weeks.
NN’s Director of Information, Commodore Adedotu Ayo-Vaughan, made this known in a press statement issued on Monday.
TheFact Daily learns that the NN had on 1 November 2023, received a distress information requesting assistance for the rescue of a vessel, MFV AFKI, with registration number UK12 and IMO number AFKI 8432780. 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.
While in transit, the vessel suffered depleted fuel to her propulsion engines which resulted in her drifting off the coast of Sao Tome and Principe into 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 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), and on 17 November 2023 at about 8 pm, after frantic surveillance by the deployed NN platform, NNS DORINA traced and made contact with the
vessel 17 nautical miles off Pennington terminal.
Two foreign crew members were confirmed onboard the rescued vessel by the NNS DORINA Boarding Party, who carried out due diligence to ascertain the status of the vessel and her involvement in any untoward activities.
Upon confirmation that the vessel actually had no incriminating items onboard, 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, which had earlier issued a Note Verbale of the incident.
The NN in its statement reassured seafarers and other maritime operators of its commitment to collaborate with local and strategic partners and allies to ensure the safety and security of vessels and 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 the 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”, the statement said.