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Nigerian Navy rescues fishing vessel AFKI after 4 weeks of drifting

The Nigerian Navy has rescued a Cameroonian-flagged Motor Fishing Vessel (MFV AFKI) with registration number UK12 and IMO number AFKI8432780.

Contained in a statement on Monday, the navy said the fishing vessel had reportedly drifted off her course for four weeks, until the 1st of November 2023, when it received distress information requesting for help.

The navy said it was through a Note Verbale issued by the Embassy of the kingdom of the Netherlands it got information that the incident occurred on 24 October 2023 when MFV AFKI was enroute from Bangul in Gambia to the Congo Kinshasa for delivery of the vessel.

The statement added that: “While in transit, the vessel suffered depleted fuel to her propulsion engines which resulted to her drifting off the coast of Sao Tome and Principe into the 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 as at about 72 nautical miles from the Nigerian coast.

“Consequently, the NN swiftly deployed Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) DORINA the Maritime Domain Awareness facilities for Search and Rescue Operation (SAR). Accordingly, on 17 November 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.

“Upon rescuing of the vessel, 2 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 actually 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,” the statement reads in part.

The Nigerian Navy used the opportunity to reassure seafarers and other maritime operators of its commitments to collaborate with local and strategic partners and allies to ensure the safety and security of vessels as well as crew members who carry out legitimate businesses in or transit Nigerian maritime environment.

The navy said that the deployment of its platforms in the Search and Rescue of the Cameroonian- registered fishing vessel was in line with the its statutory role for Safety of Life at Sea (SAR) and also in line with the Command Philosophy of the  Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, which is “to lead the NN with integrity, courage and relentless pursuit for excellence through teamwork, discipline and human capacity building, whilst upholding highest standard and professionalism, ethics and respect for human right.”

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