The Nigerian Navy (NN) successfully executed a daring maritime rescue operation, saving the Cameroonian-flagged Motor Fishing Vessel AFKI (MFV AFKI) after it drifted off course for four weeks.
The vessel, identified by its registration number UK12 and IMO number AFKI 8432780, encountered engine trouble while en route from Bangul in Gambia to Congo Kinshasa on October 24, 2023. Depleted fuel led to the vessel straying into Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone after drifting from the coast of Sao Tome and Principe.
Despite futile attempts by the vessel owners to locate it, a Note Verbale from the Kingdom of the Netherlands Embassy revealed that the MFV AFKI’s last known location was approximately 72 nautical miles off the Nigerian coast.
Responding swiftly to the distress call, the Nigerian Navy deployed the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) DORINA, equipped with Maritime Domain Awareness facilities, for a Search and Rescue Operation (SAR). On November 17, 2023, at approximately 2000 hours, NNS DORINA successfully located and made contact with the distressed vessel 17 nautical miles off Pennington terminal.
Upon boarding, two foreign crew members were found onboard. Thorough checks by the NNS DORINA Boarding Party confirmed no involvement in illicit activities aboard the vessel. Consequently, NNS DORINA towed the MFV AFKI, with assistance from NNS IKENNE, to Escravos, Delta State.
The NN’s Forward Operating Base ESCRAVOS assumed custody of the fishing vessel for further administrative procedures, preparing for its handover to the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The MFV AFKI had drifted aimlessly for almost a month before the Navy’s rescue operation.
The Nigerian Navy reiterated its commitment to maritime safety, emphasizing collaboration with local and international partners to ensure the security of vessels and crew operating within Nigerian waters.
“This rescue operation aligns with the NN’s mandate for Safety of Life at Sea and Search and Rescue, in line with Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla’s Command Philosophy.
Commodore AO Ayo-Vaughan, Director of Information, issued the statement, highlighting the NN’s relentless pursuit of excellence, professionalism, ethics, and respect for human rights in executing its duties.
The successful rescue of the drifting Cameroonian fishing vessel MFV AFKI stands as a testament to the Nigerian Navy’s dedication to safeguarding maritime operations and ensuring the safety of all seafarers navigating these waters.