The Nigerian Navy (NN) says it has rescued a Cameroonian registered fishing vessel, MFV AFKI, which drifted off its course since Oct. 24 with two crew members on board.
The Director of Naval Information, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, said in a statement on Monday in Abuja, that the Nigerian Navy received a distress information about the missing vessel on Nov. 1.
Ayo-Vaughan said information received from the Netherlands Embassy in Nigeria indicated that the vessel was heading to Congo Kinshasa after it left Bangul in Gambia when it drifted off course.
He said that 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 at its Maritime Domain Awareness facilities for Search and Rescue Operation.
“Accordingly, on Nov. 17 at about 20:00 hours, after frantic surveillance by the deployed NN platform, NNS DORINA traced and made contact with the vessel, 17 nautical miles off Pennington terminal,” he said.
Ayo-Vaughan said that due diligence was made to ascertain the status of the vessel and was discovered that it had no incriminating items onboard and was subsequently towed to Escravos in Delta.
According to him, the NN Forward Operating Base in Escravos took custody of the fishing vessel for further administrative procedures in preparation for handover to the Netherlands embassy.
“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 transiting Nigerian maritime environment.”