Pirates off the coast of Nigeria have abducted three crew members from a dredger after a deadly exchange of gunfire with the ship’s embarked security team leading to the killing of four armed Nigerian Navy ratings and injuring two others.
Maritime risk firm Dryad Global reports disclosed that the attack occurred on January 2 against the Nigerian-flagged hopper dredger Ambika, located approximately three nautical miles from the Ramos River, near the Forcados oil terminal.
Reports indicate that pirates engaged in a heavy firefight with embarked security personnel before boarding the vessel. As a result, it is reported that the four naval personnel were killed and two others injured.
Three of the dredger’s eight crew members have been reported abducted.
Dryad said the attack marks the first offshore incident near the mouth of the Ramos River since November 2018 when a vessel was fired upon.
In December, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre raised concerns over what it said was an unprecedented level of crew kidnappings in the Gulf of Guinea region, and advised ships to be extra vigilant when transiting through the region.
The IMB said recent incidents, in which a combined 39 seafarers were kidnapped, underscore the serious escalation in the kidnapping of seafarers for ransom in the Gulf of Guinea.
“Our main concern is for the safety of the crew and the quick and safe return of the kidnapped seafarers.
“IMB calls for more support from coastal countries in the region to provide a meaningful response, including investigating the gangs who carry out the kidnappings and ultimately holding them to account under law,” IMB Assistant Director Cyrus Mody, said.
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