A hijacked Singaporean oil tanker carrying 21 sailors was released yesterday, a week after being seized by pirates in waters off Ghana in West Africa, Seoul’s foreign ministry said.
The 3,200-tons tanker, carrying a South Korean captain and chief engineer, was hijacked on July 26 off the southern coast of Ghana, the ministry added.
The vessel, which had loaded in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati, was also carrying 12 Chinese, one Singaporean and six Burmese, it said.
“All sailors are unhurt and it appears that some of their fuel has been stolen,” it said, adding that the ship was released in waters off Nigeria.
It did not say whether a ransom was paid, but Yonhap news agency said the hijacking appeared to have been aimed at stealing fuel.
“There has been a sharp increase in piracy activities in waters off West Africa, but in most cases, (they) abandon the ships after taking oil, money, or valuables,” said a senior Seoul official quoted by Yonhap.
“This case appears to be of a similar kind,” it said.
Piracy off the western coast of Africa has been rising in recent years, with attackers targeting ships playing a key role in the region’s thriving oil industry.
The International Maritime Bureau said West African piracy made up 19 per cent of attacks worldwide last year, with Nigerian pirates accounting for 31 of the region’s 51 attacks – the most since 2008.
Caption: NYSC logo
NYSC: Bayelsa Parents Protest Posting of Children to North
Parents in Bayelsa State yesterday took to the streets of Yenagoa, the state capital, to protest against the posting of their children and wards to the North by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
The parents cried that it was callous for the management of the NYSC to post their children to the North given the activities of insurgens in that part of the country recently.
According to them, “The North is not safe,” “We cannot allow our children to be roasted,” “Post our children to the South,” “The corpses of children killed in the past have yet to be seen,” were among the inscriptions on the banners they carried, ”vowing that they would not accept the posting. They said since Boko Haram unleashed mayhem on the country, particularly in the northern part of the country, their children had been murdered in cold blood under the guise that they are serving their fatherland.
The parents feared that the insurgents were on the loose, killing with reckless abandon, saying their actions were to forestall further calamities for their children, while they were unanimous that sending their children to the North was tantamount to a suicide mission.
They therefore called on the federal and state governments to intervene in their collective concerns and prevail on the NYSC authorities to drop the idea.
Though they lauded the scheme because it unified Nigerians, they insisted that the current unabated insecurity in the North had compelled them to reject the posting. The protesters, led by the National Women Leader, United for Goodluck Success Campaign, Mrs. Favour Alafuro, said many of their youths were allegedly murdered in the North in the past and that they had yet to see their corpses.
Aleforo said it was curious that over 95 per cent of youths who graduated from the state-owned Niger Delta University, were posted to the North.
She noted that the intention was to allegedly decimate their youths in the troubled northern region.
“It is said that security is everybody’s business. I want to remind Nigerians that a few years ago, the Niger Delta youths sent to the North, some of them were killed in cold blood.
“Up till now that we are protesting, many corpses have not been found. Just recently, over 200 Chibok girls abducted by the terror group, Boko Haram, have yet to be found. Nigerians have done all they could, yet the children have not been found.”
“Apart from that, the insurgents have wreaked havoc in many states. It is against this backdrop that we are saying no to this current posting. We feel it is a trap to decimate our children.
“When the region is safe, we have no reason to object to the posting. Unfortunately, the North, including the Federal Capital Territory is unsafe.
“We even heard that Boko Haram had planned with some drivers to kidnap corps members. It will be foolhardy to allow our children to go to the North for them to be salughtered.”
“Through the posting of our children, who finished at NDU, they were spread in Yobe, Adamawa, Borno, Kaduna and other volatile areas. We (the parents) have resolved to meet with the coordinator of NYSC in the state to post our children and wards to safe areas in the South and not in the North. I have two children posted to the North and I do not want to lose them,” Alafuro said.