Eyewitness reporter with Agency report
The Danish government has made a U-turn over the prosecution of the four suspected pirates arrested in the Gulf of Guinea in November 2021.
The lawyers of the suspected pirates detained on a Danish navy vessel since November after a shootout off Nigeria waters told reporters on Thursday that their clients will not face prosecution in Denmark over allegedly attacking Danish soldiers.
“The prosecutor has decided not to prosecute my client and he will be released shortly”, lawyer Niels Anker Rasmussen told AFP.
Two more lawyers representing the other two suspects told Danish media the case against their clients had also been dropped, and they too would be released.
The prosecution could have caused a legal headache as the Scandinavian country has to date never transferred piracy suspects to its territory and has no extradition agreement with the countries along the Gulf of Guinea coast.
Rasmussen said the decision not to prosecute was also likely over fears that, after any prosecution, his client “could not be sent back home due to Denmark’s obligations” under international conventions, and that “this might inspire others” to follow suit.
The three suspects were among the four presumed pirates of unknown nationality arrested in the Gulf of Guinea in late November after an exchange of fire with a Danish navy ship, the Esbern Snare.
The three, who will not be prosecuted, have been held on that ship, while a fourth who was injured in the shootout, has ever since been in hospital in Ghana where his gravely injured leg was amputated.
It was not immediately clear whether charges would also be dropped against the fourth suspect.
The incident occurred on November 24 when the crew of the Esbern Snare, which was patrolling international waters in the area, attempted to board a pirate vessel.
Danish prosecutors accused the pirates of firing the first shot and sought to press charges over them attacking Danish soldiers, accusations they have denied.
Four more suspected pirates were killed in the firefight and a fifth fell overboard, the Danish authorities said.
The Gulf of Guinea, which stretches 5,700 kilometers (3,500 miles) from Senegal to Angola, is a troubled area for shipping companies, with 195 attacks on ships recorded in 2020 alone.
Of the 135 hostage-takings at sea that year, 130 occurred in the region, the International Maritime Office has said.
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NIMASA set to open Lokoja office to harness waterways resources
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has disclosed that the Agency is set to reopen the Lokoja office, as part of efforts towards harnessing the Blue Economy, enhancing collaboration, while also promoting Research and Development.
The DG, who made this known when he played host to the Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (KADSEMA), Mal. Usman Hayatu Mazadu at the head office of the Agency in Lagos, noted that investment in research would play a major role in ensuring the harnessing of Nigeria’s maritime potentials.
“The key cardinal principle of opening the NIMASA Lokoja office is to improve on Research and Development.
He said, “Now, the Blue Economy has come to stay and very soon you will see the impact of what we have; in terms of the gains and benefits to grow our Gross Domestic Product while improving the well-being of our own Economy”.
Earlier in his remarks, Mallam Usman of KADSEMA lauded the Agency for the feat achieved so far, which cuts across the entire Nigeria.
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