Itoruboemi Benson Lobia, one of the Nigerian pirates, arrived on Thursday (4 December) at Schipol airport from South Africa, and immediately transferred to Dutch justice, according to the NOS television channel. This after a procedure that lasted almost two years.
The Dutch-flagged FWN Rapide of Groningen , owned by the shipping company ForestWave, was attacked by pirates off the coast of Harcourt Harbor on the night of 21-22 April 2018. It was coming from Tadokari in Ghana. Eleven of the 14 crew members were abducted and held hostage for several weeks. The remaining men – who had been hiding during the attack – managed to maneuver the ship for shelter. The hostages were released a few weeks later, on May 18, after paying a ransom. The pirates were asking for $ 2 million, they finally got $ 340,000 according to the Dagblad Noorden.
We are delighted to confirm that late on Friday evening, December 6, 2019, the nine crew members from MV Bonita held as hostages, were released in Nigeria and brought to a safe place in southern Nigeria, after 35 days in captivity.
All crew members have gone through medical examinations Friday and Saturday. The doctor declared all nine fit to fly/travel on Saturday. Needless to say, the captivity has been a very difficult experience for them. The crew members will receive further care and follow up after arrival in the Philippines. Ugland will continue to work with our crew members throughout their recovery process.
After being safely transported out of Nigeria, the crew members have now safely arrived in Manila, Philippines, to reunite with their families and colleagues.
Representatives from Ugland headquarters’ in Grimstad, Norway and other parties have been actively engaged in the process of bringing the hostages home and have been present both in Nigeria and the Philippines.
We are very thankful and relieved that the crew are now free and back home. President Øystein Beisland says: “We are truly happy that the nine crew members are now reunited with their families and have their wellbeing at heart. I would on behalf of the company like to sincerely thank all parties that have contributed to resolving this difficult situation”.
The Bonita had been anchored off Benin for several days, waiting for a berth in the port of Cotonou. On November 2, 2019 the crew had a traumatic awakening. Armed men boarded the vessel and kidnapped nine crew members. Only two days later, four seafarers were kidnapped from the Elka Aristotle, which was anchored off Lomé in neighbouring Togo.