Pirates armed with machine guns in two speed boats approached an offshore support vessel while it was underway. Upon seeing them, the Captain notified the naval escort security boat which maneuvered to engage the attackers. One speed boat closed in from port side of the vessel and crossed the bow, while the other speed boat exchanged fire with the security boat.
The alarm was raised, the crewmembers gathered in the engine room and all power was shut down. The pirates then boarded the ship with the help of an elongated ladder.
After that, they broke into the accommodation, vandalized the cabins and took crew belongings and vessel’s properties. They then went into the engine room, kidnapped five men and escaped. The rest of the crew sailed the vessel under escort to a safe anchorage.
As IMB states, one Nigerian Navy armed guard was reportedly killed in the exchange of fire between the naval security boat and the pirates.
Investigations on the incident are ongoing.
Recently, IMB reported that attacks in waters between the Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo more than doubled in 2018, accounting for all six hijackings worldwide, 13 of the 18 ships fired upon, 130 of the 141 hostages taken globally, and 78 of 83 seafarers kidnapped for ransom.
Additionally, the region saw a significant new spike in violence in the last quarter of 2018. Vessels have been boarded by pirates well outside territorial waters, with crew kidnapped and taken into Nigeria where they are held for ransom.
In the last three months of 2018, 41 kidnappings were recorded in waters off Nigeria alone:
On 27 October 2018, 11 crew were kidnapped from a container vessel 70 nautical miles off Bonny Island, Nigeria. Two days later, Nigerian pirates in a speedboat hijacked a tanker underway 100 nautical miles off Point Noire, Congo. Eight of the 18 crew were kidnapped.