Thursday, September 26, 2019 6:50 pm
… Whereabouts of passengers, crew unknown
… Incident is the 13th this year, seafarers cry out
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Sea pirates at about noon today, Thursday, September 26, hijacked two boats on the Port Harcourt-Bonny waterways, whisking away the 24 passengers inside the boats.
An Eyewitness, Ezekiel Hart, and an indigene of Bonny, said the two boats took off from Port Harcourt jetty and were fully loaded passengers and goods.
He said the passengers and crew were sailing smoothly until the armed pirates ambushed them at a location on the high seas called “Yellow Platform”.
According to Ezekiel Hart, among those in the boat were two notable Bonny sons.
“As I speak to you this about the 13th time this kind of criminal hijacking of boats and passengers is happening this year, making sailing on Port Harcourt-Onne-Bonny waterways very unsafe for marine transportation.
“We are ,therefore, calling on the Maritime Security Agencies, and the State Government to expedite the process of securing the Port Harcourt- Onne-Bonny route because the lives of people are constantly in danger.”
At time of filing this report the Rivers State Police Command has not officially reacted to the latest incident.
It is worthy of note that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State launched the state security outfit code named “Operation Sting” on 26 July, 2019 with 76 patrol operational vehicles fitted with communication gadgets, 8 armoured fitted gunboats, 2 Armored Personnel Carriers for Police swift response actions, and 450 hand-held mobile radios to enhance communication among the security operatives handed over to the security agents.
But seafarers have consistently complained that they hardly see any of 8 armoured fitted gunboats patrolling on the waterways.