10 kidnapped from cargo vessel in another attack in Gulf of Guinea

Ten seafarers were kidnapped yesterday from the general cargo vessel Milan while underway some 14 nautical miles off the Pennington Offshore Terminal in Nigeria.

Illustration; Image by EUNAVFOR/Operation Atalanta

The vessel was in transit from Escravos to Douala, Cameroon, according to the UK-based maritime security firm Dryad Global.

“AIS indicates that the vessel was in a southbound transit when she stopped on the evening of the 25th. The precise time of the attack remains unclear,” Dryad said.

The latest incident pushed the total number of kidnapped seafarers to 128 across 24 incidents in the Gulf of Guinea in 2020.

This is the 6th boarding incident, excluding Lagos, within Nigerian territorial waters within 2020.

Dryad said that the recent regional trends have shown an increase in boarding incidents beyond the Nigerian exclusive economic zone with Nigerian PAG’s seeking to operate beyond the traditional heartland of the Nigerian EEZ.

As Offshore Energy – Green Marine reported last week, three people were kidnapped from the Togo-flagged bunkering vessel Stelios K which had been boarded on November 17 by a group of pirates while en route to Lagos.

Shortly after the attack, the local authorities managed to get in contact with the hijackers and started negotiating the release of the vessel and the crew. Details of the negotiations remain undisclosed.

However, the talks seem to have fallen through as pirates escaped and left the vessel at around 180/75 nautical miles off Lagos Nigeria. 

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Over the past two weeks, two more kidnapping incidents have been reported, including five seafarers being taken from the cargo vessel Am Delta, and 14 crew members being kidnapped from heavy-lift vessel Zhen Hua 7.