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Noticias de interés

GULF OF GUINEA: Two ships boarded while underway, one seafarer abducted

Fecha de la noticias: 09/03/2020 • Publicada: 09/03/2020 

09/03/2020 Posn 5.16 - 2.42

Background

There have been two attacks on ships in the Gulf of Guinea. The attacks took place some six hours apart, in daylight, on March 5.

The first attack targeted the 50,922-deadweight tonne (dwt) product tanker MINERVA VIRGO.

Six armed intruders boarded the tanker shortly after mid-day while it was underway 45 nautical miles (nm) SSW of Cotonou, Benin.

Despite efforts by the tanker’s crew to retreat to the citadel, one crewmember was abducted.

The second incident involved the 28,287-dwt general cargo ship HUANGHAI GLORY.

It came under attack at 18.30 hours local time, some 85 nm south of Lagos.

Details are scanty but it appears the vessel was boarded and the crew were able to crew secure themselves in the citadel.

The ship arrived safely in Lagos on March 7, escorted by Nigerian naval vessels.

Assessment and Analysis

Kidnapping for ransom remains a serious maritime threat in the region.

There were at least six attacks on ships in the Gulf of Guinea in January and February 2020.

That followed a year in which the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported an ‘unprecedented rise’ in crew kidnappings, with more than 120 seafarers seized.

Attacks have taken place as far as 170 nautical miles (nm) from the coast and assailants have often been armed and ready to use lethal violence.

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.

Evasive action and the use of citadels have proved effective in frustrating pirate assaults.

All vessels trading off Nigeria and in the wider Gulf of Guinea should adopt robust vessel hardening measures.

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