Pirates approached the Ghanaian flagged general cargo vessel AM Delta off South Brass, kidnapping 5 crewmembers.
As Dryad reports, the vessel is understood to have been boarded by 6 – 7 pirates. The kidnapped crew are all believed to be Ghanaian nationals.
Further reporting indicates that the perpetrators have damaged the onboard communications and navigation equipment. The vessel is believed to be drifting with two crew onboard.
This is the 9th incident within November. This latest incident rises the total volume of kidnapped personnel from vessels within the Gulf of Guinea to 115 across 22 incidents within 2020.
This incident took place closer to shore than the majority of incidents in 2020 which have thus far reflected the developed trend of incidents at the 80+nm range.
It is within a high traffic area that saw a large cluster of incidents in both 2018 and 2019. Following a spate of unsuccessful attacks on vessels previously it is highly likely that the perpetrators sought to return to areas of known traffic density and opportunistic targets.
The boarding by armed perpetrators reinforces the critical risk rating in the Gulf of Guinea HRA after 7 incidents of unsuccessful approaches and attacks in the past week including two successful kidnappings in the last 4 days.
As a result of the geographic spread of incidents throughout November it was assessed as a realistic possibility that the incidents were perpetuated by more than one PAG or indeed two teams operating as part of the same PAG
With this being the second successful kidnapping within 4 days in areas that broadly reflect previous activity in November the immediate risk to vessels may subside slightly. This however should not result in any change in security posture.
The most recent kidnapping incident included the Liberian flagged Heavy Load carrier Zhen Hua 7, which was boarded while drifting off Sao Tome, resulting in the kidnap of 14 crew.