PIRACY: 4 sailors abducted off Nigeria
… As Togo joins Nigeria, others on ‘additional war risks premium’ list
Four seafarers have reportedly been kidnapped off an offshore support vessel in the Gulf of Guinea, off Nigeria.
The men, which include the Captain, Chief Officer, Chief Engineer and Bosun, were taken from a vessel called Continental 1.
The incident took place last Thursday, but details have only just emerged in the latest piracy report from security consultants AKE Maritime.
AKE reports that the vessel was boarded by 14 armed men from two skiffs around seven nautical miles southwest of the Ofon oil field.
In addition to kidnapping the crew members, the robbers also stole a number of valuables and possessions before escaping.
“The risk of offshore kidnap for ransom remains high off Nigeria, particularly off Bayelsa and Rivers states where a number of abductions have occurred from supply vessels and container ships over the past six months,” AKE Maritime said.
“All vessels in the area should be aware that the risk of attack for the purposes of robbery, kidnap for ransom, or hijack will continue up to 150NM off the Nigerian coast for the foreseeable future.”
It warned shipowners: “Vessel hardening and layered defensive measures should be in place to mitigate the risk of attack.”
Meanwhile, Togo has been added to the list of areas where additional war risks premiums are charged by London underwriters.
The move by the Joint War Committee reflects additional attacks and threatening behaviour off the West African country.
Togo joins Nigeria, Benin and parts of the Gulf of Guinea as areas of higher risk listed by the Joint War Committee, an organisation that links underwriters in the Lloyd’s London company market.
The piracy threat in West Africa has been increasing, as attacks by Somali pirates have decreased.
Most attacks off West Africa are, however, aimed at stealing cargoes and valuables from ships and crew rather than hijacking a vessel for ransom.
West African governments are planning a meeting to see if they can come up with a joint response to the growing piracy threat.
The Joint War Committee has, meanwhile, taken Georgia, Balikpapan in Borneo and the North Eastern coast of Sumatera off the list of areas where additional premiums are charged so they revert to being covered under the regular annual war risks cover bought by most shipowners.