10 pirates were sentenced to 12 years each by a court in Nigeria on Friday. The jail time followed the hijacking of the Chinese merchant ship FV Hailufeng II in 2020. They were each fined 250 000 naira, or $610, as well.
All the pirates convicted of the hijacking were Nigerian nationals. The Federal High Court in Lagos said the sentences were intended as a deterrent to others.
The BBC reports that the Nigerian navy had rescued 18 crew members from the Chinese vessel in May 2020. The 10 pirates were arrested in the same operation.
The International Maritime Bureau said that 130 out of 135 cases of all maritime kidnappings last year took place in the Gulf of Guinea, which runs from Senegal to Angola. This year alone has witnessed 16 acts of piracy in the gulf.
The BBC reports that the trial was the second such under a new anti-piracy law. The new law, adopted in 2019, states that pirates are ‘economic saboteurs’, working against the country.
Umm Muhammed Umar