- Criminal group active in waters off Nigeria, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.
- Last month, Eagle Bulk Shipping celebrated the safe return of three seafarers who were kidnapped three weeks previously off Gabon.
- The abduction was part of a string of attacks in West Africa, which was considered the world’s global piracy hot spot before incidents fell off in mid-2021.
Shipowners have been alerted to an increased threat of pirate attacks off West Africa. Security company Ambrey said it had corroborated a message sent between the navies operating in the Gulf of Guinea.
Piracy threat to ships
In it, the navies assessed there is a credible threat and risk to merchant vessels, especially those transiting waters off Nigeria, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.
“Ambrey advises all vessels to increase vigilance when transiting this area,” the company said.
“Intelligence suggests a pirate action group (PAG) may have already put to sea. PAGs have been known to operate for multiple days offshore before engaging a target vessel,” it added.
Last Thursday, seafarers were injured when a Swiss bulker was boarded off Conakry in Guinea.
Security companies reported that crew members were attacked during the 30-minute raid on a Marshall Islands-flag vessel 33 km (21 miles) south-west of the port.
Four criminals boarded the ship with bladed weapons and used force to take money from the safe before fleeing. The bulker headed into port after the incident.
Swiss owner Suisse-Atlantique said later in a statement the vessel was its 63,000-dwt Nyon (built 2021).
Safe return of kidnapped seafarers
Last month, Eagle Bulk Shipping celebrated the safe return of three seafarers who were kidnapped three weeks previously off Gabon.
TradeWinds has reported that the captain, first mate and second mate were abducted on 2 May in an attack on the Stamford-based shipowner’s 58,000-dwt Glebe Bulker (built 2010), which took place 4.7 nautical miles (9.7 km) off the Owendo anchorage.
The abduction was part of a string of attacks in West Africa, which was considered the world’s global piracy hot spot before incidents fell off in mid-2021.
The first was an attack off the Republic of the Congo on the 13,700-dwt tanker Monjasa Reformer (built 2003) on 25 March. Six seafarers taken in that incident were safely recovered earlier in May.
Several other attacks
The ship, with 16 crew members on board, was missing for several days until it was spotted by the French Navy off Sao Tome & Principe on 30 March.
Monjasa said the pirates had left 10 crew members and brought the other six to Nigeria.
The attack on the product tanker was followed by a second incident, when Hai Soon Diesel & Trading’s 6,100-dwt Success 9 (built 2003) was boarded 556 km off the Ivory Coast on 10 April.
The ship was missing for six days, but the crew was ultimately safe.
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Source: Tradewinds News