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Noticias de interés

GULF OF GUINEA: Pirates open fire on Naval escort and press home attack on offshore support vessel

Fecha de la noticias: 13/03/2019 • Publicada: 13/03/2019 

13/03/2019 LC Posn 3.57 - 6.39


Pirates have killed a Nigerian Navy guard and kidnapped five seafarers in an attack on an offshore support vessel 32 nautical miles (nm) southeast of the Brass oil terminal in Nigeria.

The attack happened shortly after mid-day local time on March 9.

Details posted by the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) Piracy Reporting said the vessel was approached by two speed boats.

The captain immediately alerted an escort ship and the escort began manoeuvring to engage the attackers who were armed with machine guns.

One speed boat exchanged fire with the escort while the other crossed the bow of the offshore support vessel before coming alongside for boarding.

The pirates used an extended ladder to gain access to the deck. They vandalized the ship’s cabins and stole crew belongings before breaking into the engine room where the crew had gathered. They then seized five seafarers and made their escape.

Once the attack was over the offshore support vessel was able to proceed under escort to a safe anchorage.

The crew members who escaped kidnap were unharmed but the Nigerian Navy reported that one of its sailors had died of wounds.

Assessment and Analysis

Ships in the Gulf of Guinea, particularly in waters off Nigeria, are vulnerable to pirate attack.

In a three-week period at the end of February and beginning of March there were reports of at least six attacks against shipping, some over 110 nautical miles from shore.

Perpetrators have generally been armed, sometimes opening fire on their targets as they approach.

The March 9 assault was unusual in that the perpetrators pressed home their attack despite the intervention of a an armed escort boat.

Crews should exercise extreme caution throughout the Gulf Of Guinea.

They should avoid slow steaming and watch for the approach of small vessels, especially at night.

Ship operators should also consider vessel hardening measures to deter would-be attackers

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