The Togolese Navy, on Sunday 1 Feb, rescued 24 Ghanaian and Chinese sailors whose boat was attacked by pirates in international waters, said the Togolese maritime prefecture.
At the request of the Ghanaian authorities, Togolese Navy patrol boat chased a fishing vessel, the Lung Rong Lu Young 917 [Lu Rong Yuan Yu 917], with a crew of 28 sailors, attacked a few hours earlier off Takoradi in Ghana.
The patrol fired several warning shots in the attempt to stop the ship, but the pirates refused to comply. Twenty-four crew members managed to leave the boat by jumping into the water; they were immediately recovered by the Togolese Navy. One Ghanaian sailor was wounded with a knife by the attackers. Other reports claim one crew member died.
The Lu Rong Yuan Yu 917 was chased by the Benin navy, without success as it transited through regional waters.
In the management of this incident, the Navy has proven its ability to secure the waters under the jurisdiction of Togo, and from there, to intervene in international waters. This crisis was also an opportunity to highlight the collaboration and sharing of information at international level in the fight against maritime piracy.
The fishing vessel headed towards Nigerian waters where the 8 pirates onboard managed to depart the vessel 8nm off the Nigerian coast. The master of the vessel was reported to be in control of the vessel and heading into a safe port on 3 Feb.
Incident alert from the Maritime Trade Information Sharing Centre-Gulf of Guinea (MTISC-GoG) stated that the vessel was hijacked and being used as a pirate mothership to conduct further attacks on regional shipping. See map below (click to enlarge).
In November, the Togo Navy organisd an international conference on maritime security in cooperation with the African Union in Lomé.
The Gulf of Guinea is acknowledged as a victim of many piracy attacks.