A warship rescued the crew of a cargo ship held captive by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea for four days, according to the Spanish Defence Ministry.
A video posted on Twitter shows crewmembers from the ‘Serviola’ warship boarding the Nigerian-flagged vessel on April 10, 2019.
Esta semana, el 'Serviola' ha liberado un mercante secuestrado, la #UVE ha supervisado un vuelo de observación de Rusia, el #JEMAD ha recogido un premio a las #FAS @EjercitoTierra @Armada_esp @EjercitoAire, que trabajan #24siete por tu seguridad.
Aquí #NuestraSemanaEnImágenes pic.twitter.com/qxIs2uGFAt
— Estado Mayor Defensa (@EMADmde) April 12, 2019
A statement accompanying the video said the ‘Serviola’ tried to contact the merchant vessel after spotting ‘atypical behavior patterns’ and approached when it didn’t respond, after which the nine pirates fled on a small boat.
According to the statement, the vessel’s captain said he and the 12 crewmembers, all Nigerian, had been held hostage by the AK-47 wielding pirates for four days, during which all on-board money and valuables had been stolen.
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Following the intervention, the vessel made a direct course to the nearby port of Lagos, Nigeria, and the ‘Serviola’ continued its patrol.
The attack, and subsequent liberation, of the Nigerian vessel, is the latest in a long-running trend of piracy off the west coast of Africa.
The Gulf of Guinea is particularly dangerous and suffered 201 attacks in 2018, an increase from 180 in 2017, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
Earlier in April 2019, PTI reported that four crewmembers had been seized from the Contship Oak containership near Cameroon, just days after a US-led international anti-piracy exercise.