Navy Rescues Hijacked Fuel Vessle, Crew Near Lagos

The Nigerian Navy yesterday rescued retook an oil tanker, MT Abu Dhabi Star, hijacked off the coast of Lagos, freeing 23 Indian sailors held hostage by pirates who fled as the navy arrived, a report by the Associated Press said.

None of the sailors was hurt in the hijacking of the MT Abu Dhabi Star, said Pat Adamson, a spokesman for Dubai-based Pioneer Ship Management Services LLC.

The Nigerian navy was providing an escort for the vessel Wednesday afternoon to make sure it arrived safely at Lagos’ busy port, Nigerian Navy spokesman, Commodore Kabir Aliyu said.

The pirates who took over the vessel fled when they saw the Nigerian naval ship on the horizon, Adamson said. It was unclear whether they stole any of the ship’s cargo, though the crew had begun an inspection of the ship, the spokesman said.

Commodore Aliyu said the pirates targeted the ship as it was anchored off the coast Tuesday night. “The sailors onboard sent distress signals as the pirates boarded the Singapore-flagged ship, with their last message indicating they had locked themselves inside a panic room on the vessel,” Aliyu said.