Reports received overnight confirm that two ships were attacked in the Gulf of Guinea yesterday.
A merchant ship was attacked around 112nm South of Bonny Island, Nigeria, by 5-10 pirates who then boarded the ship. The Company Security Officer reported that the crew had managed to get to the ship’s safe room before the pirates boarded and the shipping company was in contact with them.
There were no further reports until this morning, when the Nigerian Navy boarded the ship at 0800 UTC and found the pirates had fled the ship. Two crew who had been hiding outside the ship’s safe room were found safe and well.
The second incident, at 2315 UTC, saw six armed pirates attack and board a vessel around 76nm South of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Five of the crew were reportedly taken hostage immediately while the others managed to reach the ship’s safe room. Contact with the ship was then lost and it is now believed to be hijacked.
The withdrawal of amnesty payments to former Niger Delta militants at the end of 2015 has seen a spate of attacks on oil facilities in the region as former militants seek to boost their incomes. In January, crime on the Delta’s waterways increased with 32 people kidnapped between January 14th and 29th. Yesterday’s incidents come after a series of attacks on ships in the last few weeks.