Pirates kidnap 14 crew from heavy lift vessel in GoG

Fourteen crew members are reported to have been kidnapped from a heavy lift vessel in the Gulf of Guinea.

On 13 November, the Liberia-flagged Zhen Hua 7 was boarded while drifting 78 nautical miles northwest of Sao Tome, Dryad Global said.

Built in 1998, the ship is owned by China-based company Shanghai Zhenhua Shipping.

It is understood that 27 seafarers, all Chinese nationals, were onboard the ship at the time of the incident. Apart from the fourteen kidnapped men, one crew member was also wounded, according to data provided by VesselsValue.

Following the attack, the 48,100 dwt vessel was inbound South Tome, escorted by the Italian Navy frigate Frederico Martinengo.

As the abovementioned seafarer sustained a gunshot wound injury to its leg, he was evacuated by a frigate helicopter to a hospital in Sao Tome, the Italian Navy said in a separate statement.

Photo: Italian Navy

This incident was the eighth offshore incident within the Gulf of Guinea within only nine days.

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What is more, the latest incident is the 21st kidnapping within the Gulf of Guinea within 2020. The total number of crews kidnapped from vessels throughout the area in 2020 is 110. 

“With the confirmation of the latest kidnapping, there is a potential that the rate of incidents will decline in the short term,” Dryad said.

“However, whilst it is not confirmed that the activity over the past 9 days was perpetuated by a single PAG the risk profile for all vessels operating within the region has remains at CRITICAL, with attacks assessed as highly likely / expected daily,” the maritime security intelligence company added.