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Noticias de interés

GULF OF GUINEA/GABON: Kidnappers seize crew in daylight boarding

Fecha de la noticias: 23/03/2020 • Publicada: 23/03/2020 

23/03/2020 LC Posn 0.615 - 8.39

Background

Pirates have kidnapped seven crew from a containership underway in the Gulf of Guinea.

The 957 teu (twenty foot equivalent unit) capacity MSC TALIA F was approaching Libreville in Gabon when it was boarded an hour after dawn on March 22.

The vessel’s AIS (automatic identification system) was reportedly off for at least three hours around the time of the attack.

There were 17 crew on board and some are believed to have had time to lock themselves in the ship’s citadel.

After the kidnappers left, the containership was able to proceed to Libreville.

The crew are reported to be from Ukraine.

Assessment and Analysis

The Gulf of Guinea has seen numerous attacks by pirates but incidents off Gabon have been relatively rare.

In December 2019, gunmen killed a ship’s master and kidnapped seafarers in an attack on four vessels anchored in inshore waters in the Bay of Libreville.

The vessels were understood to be waiting for licenses to fish in Gabon’s waters.

Two months earlier an offshore supply ship had reported being tracked by a suspicious vessel while underway off Port-Gentil, to the south of Libreville.

Crews should exercise extreme caution throughout the Gulf of Guinea.

They should avoid slow steaming and watch for the approach of small vessels.

All vessels in the Gulf of Guinea should adopt robust vessel hardening measures.

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