Posted on April 16, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
More information has surfaced on the hijacking of the Chemical Tanker, Maria Soltin, that occurred off the coast of Nigeria on April the 9th.
The Spanish Navy patrol vessel, Serviola had been deployed to the Gulf of Guinea on a train-and-assist mission in order to defend Spanish maritime interests overseas, when it came about the Chemical Tanker.
The crew of the Serviola had noticed that the vessel was behaving in a highly unusual manner for a merchant ship. In addition to that, they noticed a small skiff in its vicinity that made them apprehensive.
The Maria Soltin refused to respond to radio calls, so the Serviola’s Commanding Officer decided to launch two small inflatable boats to further investigate.
However, as soon as the Serviola’s boats approached the vessel, the skiff proceeded to rapidly flee the scene.
When the Serviola’s crew reached the merchant ship, the Captain revealed that the vessel had been hijacked over the course of four days and that the Serviola’s approach and consequent actions had scared the Pirates away.
Reportedly, the pirate group consisted of nine individuals, armed with AK-47s and grenade launchers. They had been threatening the Master, preventing him from answering the patrol boat’s VHF calls.
Over four days, the Pirates stole both money and valuables from the Maria Soltin’s crew members, and they managed to make off with the majority of the ship’s provisions.
The Serviola remained on scene for one day, making sure that the vessel’s crew were properly taken care of, and supplied with both food and water.
The Maria Soltin then proceeded to make her way to the port of Lagos, while the Serviola resumed her patrol of the region.