By Mary BASSEY, Senior Investigator Correspondent Lagos/
LAGOS-THE Nigerian Navy said that it has successfully rescued a Cameroonian fishing vessel one month after it drifted off her course and was declared ‘missing’. It said it was contacted on November 1, 2023 by the Cameroonian authority that their Flagged Motor Fishing Vessel AFKI(MFV AFRKI) with registration number UK12 and IMO number AFKI 8432780 had drifted off her course for 4 weeks and needed assistance. Director of Naval information, Commodore Ayo Vanghan said upon the receipt of the information, NNS Dorina and crew swung into action and started the search and rescue operation. According to, “Available information from a Note Verbale issued by the Embassy of the kingdom of the Netherlands, 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.
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 forpossible rescue proved abortive.
“However, further surveillance revealed thatthe last known location of the vessel was as at about 72 nautical miles from the Nigeriancoast. 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 on board. Pertinently, due diligence was made by NNSDORINA 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 on board.
“Therafter, 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 NN wishes to use this opportunity to once again reassure seafarers and indeed 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. In this regard, the deployment of NN platforms in the Search and Rescue of the Cameroonian registered fishing vessel, MFV AFKI is in line with theNN’s statutory role for Safety of Life at Sea, SAR and also in line with the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla’s Command Philosophy which is “to lead the NN with integrity, courage and relentless pursuit for excellence through team work, discipline and human capacity building, whilst upholding highest standard and professionalism, ethics and respect for human right.”