By Ebi Kesiena
The Nigerian Navy (NN) has announced the successful rescue of a Cameroonian fishing vessel, which had gone missing for one month after drifting off course.
The Navy explained that it received a distress call from Cameroonian authorities on November 1, 2023, reporting that their Flagged Motor Fishing Vessel AFKI (MFV AFRKI), bearing registration number UK12 and IMO number AFKI 8432780, was in need of assistance.
According to Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vanghan, the Director of Naval Information, upon receiving the information, NNS Dorina and its crew promptly initiated a search and rescue operation.
In a statement on Wednesday, Ayo-Vanghan, stated that information from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands indicated that the vessel journeyed from Banjul in Gambia to Congo Kinshasa.
Adding that while in transit, the vessel suffered depleted fuel to her propulsion engines which resulted in its 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.
He noted that despite the vessel owners’ unsuccessful attempts to trace its location, further surveillance by the Nigerian Navy determined the vessel’s last known location approximately 72 nautical miles from the Nigerian coast.
Consequently, NNS Dorina, equipped with Maritime Domain Awareness facilities, was deployed for a Search and Rescue Operation (SAR).
On November 17, 2023, at around 2000 hours, NNS Dorina successfully located and contacted the drifting vessel 17 nautical miles off Pennington terminal.
Ayo-Vanghan added that upon rescuing the vessel, the Navy confirmed the presence of two foreign crew members. The NNS Dorina Boarding Party conducted due diligence to assess the vessel’s status and any potential involvement in illicit activities.
“It was, however, discovered that the vessel actually had no incriminating items onboard and had thus been adrift for almost one month before the NN rescued it.”
He however added that the Nigerian Navy reassured seafarers and maritime operators of its commitment to collaborate with local and international partners to ensure the safety and security of vessels and crew members engaged in legitimate activities within or transiting the Nigerian maritime environment.