After a 28-hour long operation, the Liberian Armed Forces last week freed 23 foreigners taken captive by pirates on board a Chinese fishing vessel.
ccording to local news sources, the pirates seized the ship while it was in Sierra Leonean waters and took control, holding the passengers in captivity. Following a pirate alert issued by the Sierra Leone Navy, the Liberian Coast Guard conducted a special Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO) from July 23rd to 24th, 2023.
The heavily armed pirates exchanged heavy fire with Liberian forces who approached the vessel to rescue the hostages, who included 7 Chinese and 17 Sierra Leoneans, according to information from the Ministry of Defence.
The Coast Guard seized control of the open, lower deck area, but were met with gunfire from the pirates. Despite the fact that the pirates opened fire on Coast Guard officials, three pirates escaped on a life raft and one was detained on board, while several crew members were rescued, leaving several pirates to hold the remaining crew hostage.
The surviving pirates and crew members barricaded themselves on the bridge of the fishing boat. After a standoff, the Liberians assaulted the ship’s bridge, apprehending another pirate and freeing the remaining crew men.