Pirates suffer double strike failures off Nigeria

A Greek reefer came under fire off Nigeria, hours after a CMA CGM boxship was attacked in the same area.
Owner Laskaridis said that the 436,368-cbf Frio Athens (built 1988) was targeted by gunmen 55 miles from Bonny on last Saturday.
The crew employed evasive manoeuvres as bullets hit the accommodation area, according to the company. It said that there were no injuries to crew and the gunmen did not board.
Laskaridis said that it would continue to trade in the region, but was requesting extra assistance from authorities – possibly an escort into Port-Harcourt, Rivers State.
On the same day, the French-owned 3,650 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) CMA CGM Africa Four (built 2010) was targeted, but avoided the pirates by increasing speed.
She made it into Onne, Rivers State, later that day.

Nine crew have been seized from two ships in the area in the last two weeks as pirate activity increases. Meanwhile, pirates have stolen cash and belongings from two tankers in attacks off Singapore.
The raids last month have only now come to light as the ReCAAP piracy reporting centre issued its latest report.
The 2,100-dead weight asphalt carrier the AD Phoenix (built 2002) was north-east of Pulau Bintan, Indonesia, on April 23, 2013,when five pirates armed with pistols and long knives boarded the vessel from a high speed wooden craft.
A day later, an unknown number of gunmen boarded the 3,200-dead weight products tanker the Nadiya Melisende (built 1994) from a similar craft in the same area.
The AD Phoenix is operated by Reta Link of Singapore and the Nadiya Melisende by Skips Marine Services of Singapore.
In a related development, the crew of a Danish coaster held hostage in Somalia for over two years has been flown back to Europe.

Managing Director of vessel owner Shipcraft, Claus Bech, said in a statement that he had talked to all the crew and that they were in good spirits.
The six men were kidnapped by Somali pirates following the seizure of the 1,800-dead weight Leopard (built 1989) in January 2011.
Following their release, they were transported to the Danish frigate the Iver Huitfeldt by helicopter.
The frigate then departed for the Seychelles and from there the six men were flown to Europe by an ambulance plane.
”It was a very emotional moment. I spoke to all six yesterday night. I began with Eddy, continued with Soren and then spoke to the four Philippine seamen,” Bech said.
“All together we spoke for almost three quarters of an hour. All the conversations were positive and conducted in a good atmosphere.”
“I welcomed Eddy back to life and thanked him for keeping his crew together and encouraging them for the past close to 2½ years. I’m very proud that he has kept up his responsibility as a Captain,” he said.
Bech went on: “He expressed great joy and relief over the release and told me that he was looking very much forward to being reunited with his wife and children.
“Soren was happy, calm and in good spirits. During captivity he has contracted an infection that has not been treated and that has weakened his condition. Now he is getting the best care and will hopefully recover soon.” Bech said.

Shipcraft said that the six men are currently in a medical quarantine as required by the authorities in the country where they are presently staying.
“They will be screened for any infectious diseases and undergo a comprehensive health check. They will be offered consultations with psychologists and Danish experts,” the company said.
It would be recalled that Somali pirates agreed to accept a ransom of $3 million to free six crew from the Leopard only two months into what would turn into a 28-month ordeal.

But the owner of the vessel rejected the deal because it was feared the gunmen would take the cash and keep the two Danes and four Filipinos hostage.
The Shipcraft crew were finally released last week after a payment running into “considerable millions” of dollars.
The Shipcraft boss said: “It is clear that these are some thoughts that we have been through. But we chose to follow the professional advice that was offered in the field.”
Denmark’s TV2 asked him whether handing over the relatively small amount of money would have been worth the risk.
Bech answered: “It was still a lot of money, but in retrospect, then maybe. But the advice was different at the time.” 

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