Sea Pirates: Militants Hijack Passenger Boat in Nembe/Brass Waterways

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on September 30th, 2017

Yenagoa, Nigeria: A passenger boat has been hijacked by militants, suspected to be sea pirates, along Nembe-Brass waterways. The pirates reportedly trailed the passenger boat from Nembe and hijacked the boat after it had discharged its occupants in Brass. The captain of the boat and his crewmen were later dropped off at the creeks while the boat was taken to an unknown destination.

Community sources who witnessed the incident said the suspected pirates who were armed with sophisticated weapons shot sporadically into the air before seizing the boat.

Chairman of the Bayelsa state Chapter of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria Lloyd Sese who confirmed the incident said that pirates activity on the waterways has made life unbearable.

Sese said that the union had appealed to relevant authorities to come  to the aid of commuters on the waterways saying that the attack on boats have become a frequent affair.

A youth leader from Brass Local Government Area, Mr Robert Desmond condemned the incessant sea pirate attacks on the Nembe-Brass waterways.

Desmond described the act as not only senseless but inhuman and wondered why a group of Bayelsa youths should be terrorising their own people.

In another development, raging inferno at a field operated by Consolidated Oil Company (Conoil) feared to have been caused by the activities of militants has inflicted injuries on two oil workers at the Akassa coastal community in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa state.

It was gathered that relatives of the victims were terrified as they feared the possibility of their sons surviving a second degree burnt by the raging inferno.

The outbreak of the fire happened early in the morning at the oil rig operated by the indigenous oil firm at Akassa coastal community.

Community sources near the oilfield and security sources said the fire was caused by an electrical fault, which caused colossal damage.

When contacted, State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Asinim Butswat said the Police was aware of the incident but had sketchy information which was yet to be put together.

“The enormity of the fire hampered initial rescue efforts and it is expected in an oil and gas environment, but the emergency response systems were activated in the facility and the fire was put out.

“However two of the casualties who sustained injuries in the incident were rescued and have been stabilised and getting medical attention.

“The facility has been shut down and the area is calm, “ the source said.

Another security source in the area confirmed the fire incident and allayed fears that it was a militant attack.

“The fire incident is an operational mishap and has nothing to do with militants so it is within the operational levels in the company and they are currently assessing the damage done by the fire,” the source said.

When contacted, State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Asinim Butswat said the Police was aware of the incident but had sketchy information which was yet to be put together.

Efforts to get a reaction from the management of Conoil to ascertain the volume of production affected by the incident was unsuccessful, as they were yet to unravel what went wrong that triggered the wild inferno.

Militants had on August 28 ambushed a military houseboat and killed a soldier and civilian crew, even as gunmen, last Friday, attacked an oil service vessel killing the three security men on board.

Sea Pirates: Militants Attack Tugboat In Nigeria’s Niger Delta, kill 3

Yenagoa, Nigeria. Sept 23: Mr Asinim Butswat, Nigeria Police Public Relations Officer, Bayelsa State Command says an oil services vessel with a combined team of security escort on board and civilians was attacked yesterday, Friday, by sea pirates at Ekebiri Waterways in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa in the Niger Delta.  Two of the victims of the Niger Delta militants were security escorts and a civilian crew member of the tugboat towing a vessel.

Mr Asinim Butswat said one police operative was still missing as his remains has yet to be recovered. He said a response team dispatched to the crime scene rescued eight occupants of the ill-fated boat while efforts are underway to arrest the suspected armed men.

“On Sept. 22, at about 18.45hrs, a Tugboat, towing a Barge with a combined team of policemen from the Nigerian Inland Waterways, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and civilians on board was attacked by suspected sea pirates. The incident took place at Ekebiri Waterways in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa. A reinforced team arrived shortly and rescued one policeman, three NSCDC personnel and four civilians. However, a policeman, one NSCDC personnel and a civilian were shot dead by the sea pirates; one policeman is still missing,’’ Butswat said.

Photo: Niger Delta militants

Asinim Butswat further said the remains of the victims had been recovered and deposited at the Federal Medical Centre Mortuary, Yenagoa, for autopsy.

According to Asinim Butswat, a search party has been deployed to find the missing policeman while all security operatives in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area have been alerted, while efforts are ongoing to arrest the culprits.

This is barely three weeks after an ambush on a military houseboat that killed two in Southern Ijaw creeks in Bayelsa, suspected militants have attacked a tugboat in the same area and killed three crew members.

Suspected Niger Delta militants had on Aug. 28 ambushed a houseboat operated by the Joint Task Force and killed a soldier and a civilian crew member.

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