Ships should transit with extreme caution and vigilance in the area
The US Department of Transportation (MARAD) has issued advisory providing guidance to vessels transiting and operating in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea.
- Pirates/ armed gourps operating in Gulf of Guinea region continue to carry out attacks on vessels using automatic weapons, hijackings of tankers for cargo theft ( refined petroleum products, robbery of crew, passengers, and ships property and kidnappings for ranson (KFR) continue to be the most common type of incidents.
- During 2011, pirates/ armed groups hijacked tankers laden with refined petroleum products for fuel theft off the Nigerian and Benin Coasts. In 2012, pirates/ armed groups expanded their operations westward and began also hijacking tankers off Togo and the Ivory Coast. In mid-July 2013, pirates/ armed groups hijacked a tanker near port gentil off the coast of Gabon and an unufentified group attempted to board a US flag vessel at anchor in Lome, Togo but were repelled by the crew using fire hoses.
- Pirates/ Armed KFR Groups continue to target small tugs and supply vessels supporting oil drilling and exploration off the Niger Delta, but in recent months have also begun to target merchant vessels (tanker and cargo ships) transiting and operating in the region. Pirates/ armed groups have used motherships to support some KFR operation and have operated up to 150 nauticcal miles from the coast.
- PIrates/ Armed KFR groups sometmes fire upon vessels before boarding them. They normally take the master and several othe crewmembers off the vessel and demamd a ransom in exchange for their safe return.
- US-Flag operators with ships in the subject high risk waters (HRW) should transit with extreme caution and vigilance.
For more information, please read MARAD Advisory http://www.marad.dot.gov/news_room_landing_page/maritime_advisories/advisory/advisory_2013-05.htm