For the second time in less than a month, the Danish frigate Esbern Snare has been involved in yet another operation in the Gulf of Guinea.
Yesterday the Danish navy assisted a container ship believed to be under pirate attacks.
Although the identity of the containership was not disclosed in either report, other reporting points to the ship as being the Liberian-registered M/V Tonsberg.
AIS ship tracking data from MarineTraffic.com showed the Tonsberg as being underway from Cameroon to Cotonou, Benin, but apparently drifting.
One person was wounded and needed medical attention, while the pirates took six crew members hostage.
Six crew members have been taken hostage following an incident that occurred Monday when Danish frigate Esbern Snare was dispatched as part of an anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Guinea.
In a press release issued Monday evening, the Defence Command of Denmark said that Esbern Snare came to the aid of a container ship following a pirate attack.
The Danish frigate received intel suggesting that a pirate group was active in international waters near the island of Bioko off the coast of Equatorial Guinea.
While Esbern Snare set out in the direction of the possible pirate group, attempts were made to contact civilian ships in the same area.
The attempts were unsuccessful, however, according to the report.
After a three-hour pursuit, the Seahawk helicopter aboard the frigate was sent ahead to observe. Upon approach, it received a Mayday signal from a container ship.
The signal means “ship in distress.”
The helicopter crew spotted a smaller vessel – a skiff – near the side of the container ship. The crew also noticed a number of suspected pirates and hostages board the skiff.
Allegedly, those on board the skiff jettisoned various objects, presumably in order to move faster.
With the hostages taken on board, they sailed north towards the Niger Delta.
To avoid endangering the hostages, the helicopter pursued the vessel at a safe distance for some time, after which it returned to Esbern Snare.
The frigate is not authorized to pursue pirates in national waters.
In the meantime, the frigate had received a message that several crew members were onboard the container ship and that a crew member was wounded, having been shot in the leg.
There were no reports of any pirates still on board the container ship.
For this reason, a boarding team was dispatched to the container ship to provide first aid.
The wounded individual subsequently received medical attention aboard Esbern Snare and is reported to be stable.
Later Monday evening, the boarding team was still present on the container ship, providing support and aiding in the search for the two missing crew members.
It was later confirmed that six crew members have been taken hostage by the pirates.
The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said in October that the number of piracy and armed robbery incidents in the Gulf of Guinea region fell to 28 incidents through the first nine months of this year, compared to 46 for the same period in 2020.
Most notably, there were only four incidents reported off Nigeria through September, compared to 17 in 2020 and 41 in 2018.
Dryad noted that this latest attack occurred about 32 nautical miles northwest from where an offshore supply ship was attacked in October. Three people were kidnapped in that incident.
In November, the Danish Frigate killed four suspected pirates in the Gulf of Guinea while it captured four others alive while the ninth fell overboard.
Buhari, Jonathan, Obasanjo, Babangida, Abdusalami, Osinbajo, Atiku, others to spend N13.8billon from N27.5 trillion 2024 budget
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Federal government has earmarked the sum of N13.8 billion in the 2024 budget as the cost of upkeep of
former presidents, vice presidents, heads of state, Chiefs of General Staff, retired heads of service, permanent secretaries, and retired heads of government agencies and parastatals.
The beneficiaries include former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, ex-vice-presidents Atiku Abubakar, Namadi Sambo and Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
Also expected to benefit from the windfall are ex-military Heads of State, General Yakubu Gowon and General Abdusalami Abubakar, as well as a former dictator and self-styled military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, and a former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (retd.).
Also, N1tn was provisioned for the public service wage adjustment for government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (including arrears of promotion and salary increases, and payment of severance benefits and minimum wage-related adjustments).
A breakdown shows that the entitlements of former presidents/heads of state and vice presidents/chief of general staff will cost N2.3bn. At the same time, N10.5bn is proposed as benefits for retired heads of service, permanent secretaries and professors.
The payment of severance benefits to retired heads of government agencies and parastatals is proposed to cost N1bn.
Other allocations include N65bn for the Presidential Amnesty Programme for the reintegration of transformed ex-militants; N1bn for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Energy; and N108bn for unnamed special projects.
The government is also proposing the sum of N40bn to offset electricity debts owed to power distribution companies by all MDAs.
President Bola Tinubu unveiled the N27.5 trillion budget estimates for the 2024 fiscal year.
The budget was presented to a joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday, where it is currently undergoing scrutiny and deliberation for final approval.
In his presentation, he declared, “The 2024 Appropriation has been themed the Budget of Renewed Hope.
The proposed budget seeks to achieve job-rich economic growth, macro-economic stability, a better investment environment, enhanced human capital development, as well as poverty reduction and greater access to social security.
News Alert: Wale Adeniyi revives CG conference, holds 2023 edition December 13-15 in Lagos.
Ukraine blocks Russia’s reelection bid at IMO council elections
The outcome is another blow for Russia after it failed in its bid to return to the UN’s top human rights body in October, in an election seen as a key test of Western efforts to keep Moscow isolated.
Last year, Moscow also failed to win enough votes for re-election to the UN aviation agency’s governing council.
The London-based International Maritime Organization (IMO) is responsible for regulating the safety and security of international shipping and preventing pollution and comprises 175 member state countries.
Russia has been a member since 1958 and has been consistently re-elected to the IMO Council.
With voting on Friday, 40 countries were elected by secret ballot to the IMO Council, which supervises the work of the body.
In October, Russia said the IMO was departing from its impartial role due to “external pressure” which it said was impacting the fair treatment of all member countries.
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