Chemical tanker boarded in GoG for 3rd time in December as kidnapping hits new highs

A chemical tanker identified as MT New Ranger was boarded earlier today, some 160 nautical miles South West of Brass, Nigeria, marking the third time for the vessel to be boarded in a single month.

Illustration. Image Courtesy: Op Atalanta/EUNAVFOR

According to Dryad Global, the incident has concluded, with vessel and crew reported safe. 

The vessel was reportedly boarded on December 5 approximately 220 nautical miles South of Lagos and on the following day some 50 nautical miles SE of Agbami Terminal and 50 nautical miles SW of Egina Terminal. The crew reportedly mustered in the citadel, with 4 perpetrators onboard.

The New Ranger had previously been involved in incidents in the Gulf of Guinea in June and September 2011, January 2015, Dryad said.

“As failed attacks continue, perpetrators are highly likely to increase in desperation. This is likely to be because of the increased risk to themselves from naval counter-piracy activity, but from logistical strain also. Vessels are most vulnerable when skiffs approach under the cover of darkness, approaching and boarding with little to no resistance,” Dryad explained.

The boarding points to a surge of incidents in the Gulf of Guinea over the past five weeks, resulting in an increase of the risk rating in the area to Critical.

The latest incident saw MV Cap Saint Georges boarded by an unknown number of persons, who kidnapped five crew members (3 Cameroonians, 1 Ghanaian, 1 Sierra Leonian). The vessel continued to Lome and arrived on December 13th

This incident is the 26th kidnapping with a total number of 130 persons kidnapped in Gulf of Guinea HRA in 2020. 

This is the 8th incident in the GoG HRA in December. The previous 7 incidents have consisted of  4 attacks, 3 boardings and an approach, all of which have been unsuccessful. 

As Offshore Energy – Green Marine reported, in November a string of kidnapping events took place, including the attack on MV Agisilaos crude oil tanker which resulted in the kidnapping of four seafarers.

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The boarding was reported on the back of the kidnapping of ten seafarers from the general cargo vessel Milan and three people from the Togo-flagged bunkering vessel Stelios K.

Vessels are advised to operate within this area at a heightened posture maintaining the highest levels of vigilance whilst implementing full hardening / mitigation in accordance with BMP West Africa where possible.

The IMB advises that vessels remain at least 200nm-250nm offshore where possible.