The Nigerian Navy said it has rescued a Cameroonian-flagged motor fishing vessel AFKI (MFV AFK) after moving slowly on the water for one month.
The Navy said NNS Dorina had on November 1 received a distress call that the vessel needed assistance but rescued the vessel on November 17.
In a statement on Monday by the Director of Information, Naval Headquarters, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, said the fishing vessel had drifted off her course for four weeks before its eventual rescue on Nigerian waters.
He said the vessel while in transit 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.
The statement read, “On November 1, 2023, the Nigerian Navy received distress information requesting assistance for the rescue of a Cameroonian – Flagged Motor Fishing Vessel AFKI (MFV AFKI) with registration number UK12 and IMO number
AFKI 8432780. The Fishing Vessel reportedly had drifted off her course for four weeks.
“According to available information from a Note Verbale issued by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the incident occurred on October 24, 2023, when MFV AFKI was en route 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 NNS DORINA the Maritime Domain Awareness facilities for Search and Rescue Operation. Accordingly, on November 17, 2023, at about 2000 hours, after frantic surveillance by the deployed NN platform, NNS DORINA traced and made contact with the vessel 17 nautical miles off Pennington terminal.”
Ayo-Vaughan said after rescuing the vessel the Navy found two foreign crew members.
He said after a painstaking investigation, the Navy found out that the vessel had no incriminating items onboard.
The statement added, “Upon rescuing of the vessel, two foreign crew members were confirmed onboard. Pertinently, due diligence was made by NNS DORINA Boarding Party to ascertain the status of the vessel and her involvement in any untoward activities. It was however discovered that the vessel had no incriminating items onboard.
“Thereafter 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. MFV AFKI had thus been adrift for almost One month before the NN rescued her.”