By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Chief of Naval Staff Benin Navy, Captain Albert Ezin Badou has commended the personnel of Nigerian Navy Ship OSE for their show of gallantry and high level of professionalism during the rescue of 11 crew members onboard a Portuguese flagged container ship, MV TOMMI RITSCHER.
Major General John Enenche
Coordinator Defence Media Operations
Defence Headquarters, in a statement said the merchant ship which had 19 crew members consisting of Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Filipinos nationals was attacked by pirates in Benin territorial waters on 18 April 2020.
“Consequently, the Benin Navy requested for assistance from the Nigerian Navy (NN) on 19 April 2020 in line with the MoU of the ECOWAS Maritime Zone ‘E’. “The NN and Benin Navy jointly rescued the 11 crew members on 20 April 2020. However, the remaining 8 members of the ship and the pirates could not be found during the rescue operation.
“In recognition of the role that the Nigerian Navy played in the successful rescue operation, Captain Badou expressed his gratitude to the Nigerian Navy Ship OSE’s ship company under the command of the Officer-in-Charge of the ship, Lieutenant Bilyaminu Umar Abubakar for their prompt response to the incident. He was also appreciative of their efforts which contributed to the success recorded. According to him, “from the moment you arrived Benin territorial waters on 19 Apr 20, you demonstrated good seamanship and security awareness in jointly patrolling the sea around the vessel with our Benin Navy patrol boats. This effort prevented further insecurity incidences relating to the vessel and helped build confidence in our maritime security response against piracy in the ECOWAS Zone ‘E’ maritime domain”. He further applauded the NN Special Boat Service team that participated in the rescue for display of exceptional bravery and tactics in boarding the hijacked vessel to rescue the 11 crew members without any casualty.
“Captain Badou noted with delight the great success achieved by the joint operation which has further cemented the brotherly ties shared by the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Benin. He also specifically thanked the Nigerian Navy for its huge support towards this successful operation and urged the crew of Nigerian Navy Ship OSE to keep up the good work. The Chief of the Naval Staff of Benin Navy conveyed the appreciations through a letter of commendation forwarded to the Nigerian Navy.”