A total of nineteen seafarers have been kidnapped in two separate incidents in the Gulf of Guinea as piracy surges in the region.
The first incident involved the heavy lift ship ZHEN HUA 7. According to reporting from Dryad Global, the incident took place November 13 when pirates boarded the ship as it drifted approximately 78 nautical miles northwest of Sao Tome. The incident resulted in fourteen crew being kidnapped.
The second incident involved the AM Delta, a general cargo ship registered in Ghana. According to Dryad, the vessel was boarded and five crew kidnapped approximately 44 nautical miles from South Brass, Nigeria.
Dryad reports that the incidents marked the eight and ninth piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea in November alone. Year-to-date, 115 seafarers have been kidnapped across 22 incidents in the region.
According to the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reported Centre, the number of seafarers kidnapped by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea this year has surged as “well organized” pirates abduct bigger groups of seafarers further offshore and across all vessel types.
In the first nine months of 2020, the IMB reported a 40% uptick in the number of kidnappings reported in the region.
Among the 85 seafarers kidnapped worldwide, 80 were taken in the Gulf of Guinea in 14 separate attacks reported off Nigeria, Benin, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Ghana.