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Russian marines thwart pirate attack on Nigerian waters

Russian marines helped Nigeria foil an attack on a vessel in the Gulf of Guinea on Monday.

The Russian Navy responded to distress calls from the MSC Lucia and Nigerian Navy.

They rushed to the scene from the Vice-Admiral Kulakov currently operating in the Gulf of Guinea on a three-week deployment.

A number of pirates had boarded the container ship 86 nautical miles Southwest of offshore Agbami Oil Terminal.

Built in 1985, Panama-flagged Lucia measuring 189 meters in length and 1,951 TEU, called at San Pedro port in Cote D’Ivoire last week, then moved to Lome on October 22.

The vessel departed the Togolese capital on the 24th and headed Southeast across the Gulf of Guinea.

According to AIS data provided by Pole Star, on the morning of the 25th, about 150 nautical miles to the Northwest of Sao Tome, MSC Lucia slowed from 14 knots and stopped.

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) AIS is a system used by ships and vessels for identification at sea.

A statement by Russian Ministry of Defense confirmed that the Vice-Admiral Kulakov responded to a SOS.

The crew of Lucia hid in the engine room after reporting that gunmen in a speedboat were on board.

Kulakov, an Udaloy-class destroyer, dispatched a Kamov Ka-27PS helicopter carrying sea soldiers.

The statement said the pirates “got into a fast boat and headed towards the coast at full speed” at the sight of the warfare chopper.

The ministry released images of the ship, the fleeing pirates and their boat. Lucia continued its journey under protection.

Russia is on the list of top ten countries with the world’s largest navies by active naval assets and by tonnage.

Nigeria and West Africa nations have been advised to increase surveillance of their territories.

In its latest report, the ICC International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) acknowledged that the number of attacks against ships globally has fallen to the lowest in decades.

Nigeria reported four incidents in the first nine months of 2021, in comparison to 17 in 2020 and 41 in 2018.

Michael Howlett, Director, ICC IMB commended maritime authorities for efforts to reduce incidents in the Gulf of Guinea.

“However, there needs to be sustained efforts to ensure the continued safety of seafarers as they transport essential goods throughout the region.

“Coastal States must redouble their coordination and security measures to ensure that piracy and armed robbery incidents continue to decline”, Howlett said.

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