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[Brief] Attack on a fishing boat off Freetown

(B2) A Chinese fishing vessel was attacked by 13 gunmen on July 22 at 10:55 UTC off Freetown in Sierra Leone. After an intervention by the Liberian Coast Guard, the crew was released 36 hours later on July 24.

The FV Shenghai2 moored at the Port of Bushrod (photo: MOD Liberia

The general alert is given on July 23, 2023, at around 8:2, by the Sierra Leone Navy's Joint Maritime Operations Center. Two fishing vessels, the FV Aliman and FV Shenghai-20 were attacked by pirates 8 nautical miles off the port of Freetown in Sierra Leone (at 36° 13' North and 3° 2° ' West), reports the message . The pirates seized one of the two ships: the FV Shenghai23, with 6 crew members on board (13 Chinese and XNUMX Sierra Leoneans).

« Upon receipt of the information, the Liberian Coastguard Maritime Operations Center begins ongoing monitoring and coordination with the navies of Sierra Leone and Côte d'Ivoire. indicates the HQ of the armed forces of Liberia which coordinates the operation. The operation at sea mobilizes two coastguard vessels and eleven sailors.

Several hours of spinning

« After approximately 12 hours of searching, the Liberian Coast Guard Special Operations Team locates the suspect vessel at a distance close to the international maritime borders between Liberia and Sierra Leone reads the statement from the Armed Forces of Liberia. « The vessel is tracked until it reaches the general area of ​​Monrovia approximately 9 nautical miles off the community of King Grey, RobertsField Highway”. For " tactical reasons Coast Guard physical contact with the vessel only occurs in the middle of the night at 0:23 on July 2023, 06 at position 07o 010' North, 47o XNUMX' West.

Strong intervention

The Liberian Coast Guard first approach and secure the lower deck of the vessel. The pirates retaliate with fire. After this exchange, three pirates take off aboard a rescue boat, a first pirate is then captured and two crew members rescued. After a few hours of negotiation, the coastguards resume the assault on the upper deck, arrest a second pirate and free the remaining 21 crew members. The rest of the pirates flew away. The vessel was secured and brought back to the Liberian Coast Guard base on Bushrod Island. Three assault rifles and a Winchester are seized.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)


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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).