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‘122 seafarers kidnapped in Gulf of Guinea this year’

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With the latest piracy attack involving the kidnap of four seafarers, 122 crew members have so far been abducted from vessels in the Gulf of Guinea this year.

The latest piracy attack involving a crude oil tanker is estimated by Dryad Global (UK-based maritime security firm) as the 24th confirmed kidnapping incident in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea in 2020.

The boarding of MV Agisilaos was reported on November 29, according to Dryad, while the vessel was underway in Ghanaian waters, 5 nautical miles from the Western edge of the Gulf of Guinea HRA, and 22 nautical miles west of Togo TTW.

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The MR1 tanker, built in 2006 by Hyundai Mipo, was underway from Point Noire and is currently anchored in Lome, data from the Marine Traffic shows.
Dryad said that the vessel’s AIS data indicates that the ship’s crew attempted to avoid the boarding through evasive maneuvers but was not successful. The tanker reportedly had 23 crew members onboard prior to the incident, including Russian, Romanian, and Filipino nationals.

As informed, the vessel is now reported safe. Local authorities have been notified.

“This is the 24th confirmed kidnapping incident in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea within 2020 with 122 crew kidnapped from vessels. The attack is being reported on the back of a string of successful kidnappings in the area over the past month.

“While the design of this vessel does not signal any overarching vulnerabilities, this incident highlights the desperation of perpetrators in the region. Counter-piracy operations and logistical strains mean larger vessels may be targeted should attack targeting smaller vessels with vulnerable characteristics be unsuccessful,” Dryad stated.

It added that: “Further attacks on vessels underway are highly likely, and vessels are advised to exercise heightened caution within and on approach to the Gulf of Guinea HRA.”

A few days ago, 10 seafarers were kidnapped from a general cargo vessel- Milan while underway some 14 nautical miles off the Pennington Offshore Terminal in Nigeria.

The vessel was in transit from Escravos to Douala, Cameroon, according to Dryad. Until 2020, maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea was a declining trend. According to Dryad data, the number of attacks in 2018 and 2019 was 134 and 114 respectively.

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