Piracy has once again reared its head in the Gulf of Guinea, and a maritime security warning is in force for the area.
This was in response to an attack by fourteen armed pirates on a chemical tanker off the coast of Benin.
The pirates boarded and took control, ordering the master to sail the tanker to Gabon in order to offload the cargo. After several failed attempts to offload the cargo near Gabon, Warri and Lagos in Nigeria. The difficulties with the cargo prompted the pirates to abandon their plans and they instead stole the crew members’ personal belongings and took the master and two engineers ashore.
The tanker was left three nautical miles of Badagri, off the coast of Nigeria. The three abducted crew members were later allowed to return to their ship. The crew received some injuries and the bridge and crew cabins were physically damaged.
In a separate incident three persons approached a chemical tanker at anchor, three nautical miles off Lagos, fired their weapons in the air and demanded the gangways to be lowered. The master refused and moved away from the anchorage and no one was injured during the incident.
Vigilance, crew preparation, watch rotas and security measures are all strongly recommended when approaching ports in the Gulf of Guinea.