Navy deploys MDA to locate hijacked vessel in GoG
Nigerian Navy high command is intensifying operations through the use of Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) to locate a tanker boarded by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), less than three weeks after the hijacking of a tanker named MT Monjasa Reformer on the high sea.
Spokesman for the Navy, Olukayode Ayo-Vaughan, who responded to checks by The Guardian on telephone, said the attack happened in deep sea, off the coast of Cote d’Ivoire and not in Nigerian waters.
His words: “We are making efforts, using our MDA system with various partners, to locate position of the vessel before further action or assistance will be rendered.”
The Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade–Gulf of Guinea (MDAT–GoG) information centre had reported that the latest incident occurred on Monday, April 10, approximately 300 nautical miles south-south-west of Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
The EOS Risk Group said the latest incident suggested that another vessel was likely used to support the pirates. EOS Risk Group had said the latest boarding incident shows West African pirates’ ability to operate further from shore, even as it advised vessels to exercise extreme caution and remain vigilant, maintaining strict anti-piracy measures.
The communication with the Monjasa Reformer was reportedly lost after it was attacked by armed pirates 140nm west of the Republic of Congo’s Port Pointe-Noire on March 26. The vessel was eventually located four days later approximately 90nm south of Bonny, Nigeria, with six crew members missing.
Maritime piracy and armed robbery reported worldwide fell to its lowest recorded level in almost three decades last year, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).
The GoG, in particular, witnessed a reduction in the number of reported piracy incidents and crew kidnappings, with IMB data revealing 19 incidents in 2022, down from 35 the year before.
The recent successful attacks on vessels in the GoG have been attributed to the recent departure of a Danish frigate from the area. The frigate had reportedly protected ships, deterred attacks and arrested pirates since 2021, but was pulled back late last year.
IMB has reportedly warned that sustained efforts are needed to ensure the continued safety of seafarers in the region, which remains dangerous as proven by these latest incidents.