Five kidnapped from vessel in Gulf of Guinea

Armed pirates attack LNG carrier off Bonny

 

Five crew members have been reportedly kidnapped from a fishing vessel in the Gulf on Guinea.

The Ghana-flagged ship identified as Atlantic Princess was boarded 65 nautical miles south of Tema on 19 May 2021, according to Dryad Global.

The vessel is understood to have been approached by one speedboat with eight pirates onboard.

The 1982-built ship was reportedly fired upon prior to being boarded by armed men. It was allegedly hijacked and sailed south to a distance of 100 nautical miles before pirates departed the vessel.

The seafarers taken hostage by pirates are Korean, Chinese and Russian nationals.

“This latest attack ends a significant hiatus of activity within the Gulf of Guinea. This latest attack is the first kidnapping incident since 15th March 21. Thus far within 2021 there have been 56 personnel kidnapped across 5 incidents from vessels operating within the Gulf of Guinea,” the UK-based maritime security intelligence company said.

“This latest incident represents the furthest westerly kidnapping within the Gulf of Guinea to date. Trends across the past 18 months have indicated a broadening of the piratical footprint within the Gulf of Guiana, beyond the traditional heartland of the Nigerian EEZ.”

“Reports from crew members indicate that 2 hours prior to the attack, a rusted looking mini tanker vessel was sighted far off the horizon with the AIS off. The vessel is understood to have manoeuvred away from the suspicious tanker. Further but unverifiable reporting indicates that the crew had identified the pirates as Nigerians. Given the significant distance of the incident from Nigerian waters, it remains a realistic possibility that the vessel sighted by the crew was being used as a mothership form which to launch and sustain deep offshore operations,” Dryad added.

The latest incident coincided with the launch of BIMCO’s Gulf of Guinea Declaration on the Suppression of Piracy earlier this week.

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