The “Serviola” patrol boat, during its surveillance and maritime security operation in the Gulf of Guinea, managed to free the crewmembers of a merchant ship held by a group of nine pirates, on April 9. The crew of the Nigerian flag merchant ship had been kidnapped for four days. The pirates also stole the money and all the valuables of its endowment, as well as a significant part of the provisions.
The International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) published its report for the first quarter of 2019, revealing less incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships than the first three months of 2018. During the first quarter of 2019, IMB reported 38 incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea, which are 28 less incidents than the first quarter of 2018, which stood at 66.
Pirates have reportedly kidnapped four crew members from the Liberian-flagged container ship ‘Contship Oak’ in the Gulf of Guinea in the evening hours of March 30th. The vessel was attacked in Douala Anchorage, some 15 nautical miles Southwest of Douala, Cameroon.
While speaking at the last SAFETY4SEA Conference in Cyprus, Mr. Dimitris Maniatis, Chief Commercial Officer, Diaplous Maritime Services, provided a recap of the current maritime security status, focusing on key high risk areas, such as the Indian Ocean region and West African waters. For the Gulf of Guinea, he stressed, Piracy and Maritime Aggression is never ending.
Pirates armed with machine guns in two speed boats approached an offshore support vessel underway on March 9, off Brass, Nigeria, as IMB reports. The pirates boarded the ship, stole crew’s belongings and kidnapped five men. What is more, there are reports that one Nigerian Navy armed guard was killed during exchange of fire.
Pirates off Africa’s western coast attacked a Malta-registered tanker and kidnapped three of its crew members, as reported by Romania’s Free Trade Union of Navigators and the Romanian Ministy of Foreign Affairs. The tanker ‘Histria Ivory’ run by Romanian crew members was under attack on February 3, when voyaging through the Gulf of Guinea.
Six crew members of the MSC Mandy who were kidnapped earlier this month off Benin, are now free Russian media reported. The ship was attacked on January 2, and since then negotiations to release the seafarers have been ongoing. The ship arrived from Nigeria to the port of Cotonou, and new crew members went on board the ship, including the captain, to replace the crew members who had been taken hostage.
The pirate captain who is considered responsible for the kidnapping of 11 crew from the container ship, FWN Rapide on 21 April 2018 off Nigeria, was intercepted by Interpol in South Africa. Now he fights extradition to the Netherlands in court. During the proceedings, the suspect was claiming that the authorities have caught the wrong man.
IMB issued its annual piracy report for 2018, confirming a rise in piracy figures on the world’s seas last year, and specially in West African waters. The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) recorded a total of 201 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships worldwide in 2018, up from 180 in 2017.
The 12 seafarers, who were kidnapped by pirates from the Panamanian-flagged tanker ‘Anuket Amber’ and the anchor handling tug supply vessel ‘Ark Tze’ in October off Congo, have been released and are all safe, the managers of the vessels confirmed in an official statement.
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