By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
It has been noticed that a suspected pirate, who was wounded in a gun battle with Danish navy forces in the Gulf of Guinea last month, has been brought to a hospital in Ghana and is being guarded by police.
It has been confirmed that the wounded pirate is on admission at the International Maritime Hospital where he is recovering from surgery under police guard.
Medical sources at the hospital say he was admitted on December 19 and surgery was done on him after he complained of being in severe pain.
According to reports in the international media confirmed by Danish sources, the pirate, a Nigerian citizen, confirmed that he was wounded when naval forces on a Danish frigate HDMS Esbern Snare on an international anti-piracy mission patrolling in the Gulf of Guinea engaged pirates in a gun battle on November 24.
According to the reports, four other suspected pirates were killed and three others were taken into custody. They are also believed to be Nigerians. Available information indicates that the arrested pirates would be put before the court in Denmark.
A Danish military statement said the Danish frigate responded to a distress call that a vessel was approaching commercial ships in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Nigeria.
Part of the Gulf of Guinea, stretching 5,700 km (3,540 miles), from Senegal to Angola, has become a hotspot for piracy, and there were 195 attacks in 2020. According to the International Maritime Office, some 130 of 135 hostage-takings at sea occurred in the region.
The international community has stepped up patrol in the area to stem off the criminal activities of pirates. According to the Associated Press citing a Danish military statement on the incident, the frigate dispatched a Seahawk helicopter whose crew reported seeing men on the vessel with what they described as “equipment connected to piracy, including ladders.”
The Danish military statement said a gun battle ensued shortly after and the Danes reacted in self-defense. It indicated further that no Danes were injured.
The vessel occupied by the suspected pirates sank and eight suspected pirates were taken onboard Esbern Snare, including one who was wounded and the bodies of the four who were killed.
The Danish military said last Sunday, the wounded man was taken to a local hospital during a port call in Ghana, adding “it was no longer considered medically sound to have him on the frigate.”
Due to the increasing activities of pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, the ECOWAS Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre (MMCC) Zone F last week issued a warning of impending piracy attacks on ships from the eastern waters of Ghana to the south of Lagos, Nigeria.
The warning said: “The general area covers about 672 square miles and about 93nm offshore Tema, Ghana.”
All vessels transiting the demarcated area and the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) are advised to be extra vigilant, maintain a sharp anti-piracy lookout and report any suspicious activities or skiff/boat movements to the authorities for prompt action, it added.