A total of 15 crew members were kidnapped from the Maltese-flagged tanker MT DAVIDE B, after the vessel was boarded by 9 armed individuals off Benin, in the Gulf of Guinea.
The Maltese-flagged oil/chemical tanker was about 213 nm South of Cotonou, Benin, with 21 crew members onboard, including Ukrainian, Romanian and Philippine nationals, data by maritime security firm Dryad Global suggest.
The vessel can be seen transiting ENE at 9.6kts, course 65° before its speed falls to 2.9kts and AIS signal is lost.
The incident appears to have occurred 9nm SE of the edge of the Nigerian EEZ and is near to where a number of vessels will look to RV with Nigerian SEV.
Vessels within this area are at a unique vulnerability in that they are generally operating within waters beyond the operational footprint of regional security forces.
Within 2020, there were 5 incidents inclusive of kidnapping that occurred within 30nm of this reported incident. The latest annual report by Dryad Global showed that kidnapping incidents remain unacceptably high in Gulf of Guinea, while the annual IMB piracy report recorded the highest ever number of crew kidnappings in 2020, with this region accounting for 96.3% of global crew abductions.
In January 2021, one crew member was killed when pirates boarded the Liberian flagged container ship MV Mozart, approximately 98nm NW off Sao Tome and another 15 crew were taken hostage.
Vessels are reminded that the risk to vessel and crew when operating within the JWC-025 extended HRA is SEVERE. As such all vessels are recommended to ensure full compliance with BMP5 recommendations and ensure maximum hardening and mitigation are employed for operations within this area.