Pirate attacks now occur daily off Nigeria

There is no let up by pirates as they continue to unleash mayhem on vessels operating in the Niger Delta region of the country and the larger Gulf of Guinea area.

Reports by the Maritime Trade Information Sharing Centre (MTISC-GoG) indicate that attacks now occur almost on a daily basis off Nigeria’s coast in the Gulf of Guinea.

The information sharing centre reported that the Niger Delta pirates struck daily on April 18, 19 and on April 20.

“Information has been passed to MTISC-GOG indicating that today (April 18) at 16:15 hrs there was an attack on a vessel from pirates at Latitude 03:54:75N and Longitude 005:38.03E.

“The armed guards on board the vessel opened fire and the Master carried out maneuvers and turns in order to prevent the pirates from boarding the vessel.

Eventually the attack was aborted and the pirates left with no injuries,” MTISC-GoG stated on its website.

Two crew members of an offshore supply vessel were kidnapped by pirates while their ship was underway around 97 nautical miles south west of Brass also on April 19.

According to information provided by the International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) piracy reporting center, a group of pirates attacked and boarded an unidentified offshore supply vessel while underway.

The crew managed to raise the alarm and non-essential crew members retreated into the citadel.

Once onboard, pirates robbed and kidnapped two crew members, identified as the vessel’s Captain and Chief Engineer.

All remaining crew were reported to be safe and proceeding to a safe port.

Two more attacks occurred on the same day in the region. Namely, seven pirates armed with guns approached a Panama-flagged tanker some 58 nautical miles south west of Brass, Nigeria.

However, the crew activated the water hose and master commenced evasive maneuvers that enabled the ship to fend off the attack.

“Due to the high free board and hardening measures deployed by the vessel, the pirates aborted the attack and moved away,” the reporting centre said.

All crew of 28 members are reported to be safe.

The third target of the day was a multipurpose offshore vessel, which was attacked by pirates causing damage to the bridge.

However, the crew managed to escape pirates by retreating to the citadel and has been escorted to Agbami terminal.

The pirate activity did not subside the day after, as a Spanish-flagged LNG tanker was attacked on route to Port Harcourt on April 20.

The ship’s identity has not been disclosed, but it is believed that the ship is Bilbao Knutsen, owned by Knutsen OAS. The incident is the sixth that occurred in and around the Brass area within 24 hours.

The LNG tanker managed to thwart the attack and proceeded to Bonny with all crew members accounted for. There were two further separate pirate attacks same day targeting two offshore supply vessels in close proximity.

SHIPS & PORTS DAILY reported on Thursday last week that a containership chartered by the French shipping major CMA CGM was attacked off Nigeria, resulting in the kidnap of two crew members.

The ship has been identified as the CMA CGM Turquoise.

CMA CGM Turquoise, owned by Kassiakos Navigation Ltd and managed by Dioryx Maritime Corporation, was attacked on Monday April 11.

The kidnapped crew members are thought to be an electrician and the ships second officer. This is the second incident that occurred on the same day in the region. As reported by SHIPS & PORTS DAILY, a group of eight pirates attacked the Malta-flagged tanker MT Puli and kidnapped the vessel’s six crew members some 118 nautical miles off Port Harcourt also on Monday April 11.

The ship was en route from Douala port to Nigeria when it was attacked.

The pirates stole cash, the ship’s properties, crew personal belongings and escaped with the kidnapped crew.

In the first quarter of this year, 14 commercial vessels were attacked in the Niger Delta area and in 6 of these incidents, 23 crew members were kidnapped for ransom.

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