Hunt for a Ghost Ship: NBC News Spots Abandoned US Vessel in Nigerian Creek

Ronke Phillips and Sohel Uddin, NBC News, November 9, 2013

It was an eerie sight: an American oil supply ship abandoned in one of the danger-filled creeks that snake through the south of Nigeria, stars and stripes fluttering from its mast, but no sign of life on board.

A crew from NBC News tracked the C-Retriever to the outskirts of the Port of Onne two weeks after pirates boarded it and took hostage the two U.S. citizens on board—the captain and the chief engineer.

The incident has been cloaked in mystery, with no information on the fate of the two men or where they are being held and the Nigerian Navy refusing to say what became of the vessel after the Oct. 23 attack in the Gulf of Guinea.

Finding the ship was a complicated and potentially perilous operation through waters that have become increasingly popular with pirates and sea-robbers who take cover in the inlets while they stalk victims.

Piracy is surging in Nigeria, with Capt. Richard Phillips declaring it “worse even than Somalia,” where he was taken hostage in 2009 and then rescued by Navy SEALS, a high-seas drama chronicled in a current Tom Hanks movie.

When we tried to hire two speed boats at a jetty known as Borokri, the locals were reluctant, deeming it too risky to travel with a crew that included a white cameraman and an Asian producer.

One boat owner eventually agreed, but only if we hired armed security.

{snip}

We filmed the 222-foot vessel from a distance without incident, and then as we contemplated pulling alongside to take a closer look, one of our crew spotted a naval ship heading toward us and we ended the mission.

Later, the man who rented us the boats told us piracy was such a problem in the area he did not want be filmed or named for fear of reprisals.

{snip}

Usually, sailors kidnapped in Nigerian waters are released after a ransom is paid. It remains to be seen if that’s how the C-Retriever crew’s ordeal will end.

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  • Pro_Whitey

    Thanks, Islam! The world really missed piracy. The problem for us is, does our Navy have any admirals left with the balls to take these bass turds on?

    • dd121

      No, the Muslim known as the Obama, has fired them all and replaced them with his sycophants.

      • Pro_Whitey

        They deleted my comment? Seriously? I’d like to know what was so offensive.

        • Jesse James

          I don’t know if it is Disquis or AMREN but I have had several comments deleted this week. Since I had comments deleted here, Alt Right and American Thinker I suspect it is Disquis. Anybody know what is going on?

        • dd121

          I was wondering the same thing. No, you didn’t say anything that was bleepable. Disquis is just a piece of software. I think each site has it’s own moderators. Mr Moderator, care to comment?

        • dd121

          They could have accidentally hit the delete button?

  • Spartacus

    All ships travelling in the lands of the dark-skins should receive military escorts, to avoid situations like this.

    • I have written in the past on other sites that the old “Q-ship” concept should be reintroduced. With hidden autocannon on board, such as 25mm Bushmaster and 40mm Bofors guns, the idea would be to trick pirates into attacking what looks like a harmless freighter.

      • Spartacus

        You’d think a gigantic ship carrying tens of millions of dollars worth of stuff could afford a small security force – a dozen or so – that could easily fight off some retards with rusty AKs. But no…

        • dd121

          Problem is, they have RPGs and such which can easily penetrate a hull and do some serious damage.

          • Spartacus

            A couple of decent snipers could easily take care of that. Keep in mind, these pirates want to steal loot, not blow it up .

          • dd121

            It’s also an economic decision. Maersk owners may not be willing to take a billion dollar gamble that one of their large tankers or container ships won’t be sunk when all they have to do is pay out a few million.

          • If the outer void spaces were filled with timber, an RPG hit would only put a hole in the shell-plating. Chain link fencing and sandbags around the pilot house would provide enough of a stand-off for the RPG warhead that it wouldn’t do much damage even there. This pilot house protection could be hidden behind sheets of canvas, wired to the fencing, which would be painted to match the rest of the ship.

            Our intrepid RPG-7 gunner would have two other serious problems. Accurate fire from a pitching skiff is difficult, and the effective range is only 200 meters. The 25mm Bushmaster has an effective range of 6800 meters and a rate of fire of 200 rounds per minute, while the 40mm/60 Bofors has an effective range of 7100 meters and a rate of fire of 160 rounds per minute.

          • dd121

            What you suggest would probably be effective. For whatever reason the ship owners have elected not to fight back.

          • Zaporizhian Sich

            Indeed, an RPG piercing the hull of a vessel like a LNG carrier would result in the most horrible of consequences.

          • The armed ships would be carrying nothing inside, except maybe timber or maybe steels barrels filled with styrofoam. They wouldn’t be armed cargo ships; they would be deliberate decoy ships manned by regular navy crews. This would also give them arrest powers on the high seas.

      • Zaporizhian Sich

        A good idea, only I would replace the Bushmaster with 30mm Phalynx or better yet, Goalkeepers. The larger gun will be a Mk-110 57mm cannon that can rip apart anything that flies and almost anything that floats. Anything within at least nine miles can be destroyed by shells exploding in airburst, three proximity and impact modes. Build a vessel that looks like a easy target where the guns can be totally hidden unless in use, plus scores of armed SEALS and Marines aboard too. I have thought a “Q” ship is an excellent idea for hunting down and killing pirates.

        • Those are more expensive weapons than those I have suggested, and 40mm Bofors rounds are available in proximity fused versions today.

  • Blue-eyed Devil

    This reminds me of the movie Captain Phillips. I loved it when the Seals smoked three skinnies at the end.

  • Nigeria has one of Africa’s largest navies, including a former US Coast Guard high endurance cutter, but it is corruptly and incompetently administered and the ships very poorly maintained. This absence of any genuine naval/maritime law-enforcement presence creates an ideal environment for piracy.

    • IstvanIN

      Sounds like SA’s navy and air force.

    • Zaporizhian Sich

      It won’t be hard to figure out what will happen when they get their hands on submarines, within a year one is going to sink and probably be found as nothing but crushed and torn metal on the ocean floor. That will be because they will probably learn the hard way there is a fine line between submerging, and sinking.

      • By an amazing coincidence, we watched the movie “The Hunley” this evening.

        • Zaporizhian Sich

          The Hunley was built in my area, and it killed two crews as well in accidents. One of it’s victims was Horace Hunley himself.

  • Blue-eyed Devil

    The ship is probably on the ocean floor.