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Another attack foiled off West African coast

Security consultancy Dryad Global is warning vessels operating off West Africa, in and around Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) where security forces operate to be vigilant after another suspected pirate attack in 100 miles southwest of Bonny, Nigeria.

Dryad Global’s Munro Anderson said there had been a lull in incidents over the last few weeks, but this latest attack shows that crew must remain on their guard. The consultancy reports that a speed boat with five people on board attempted to board the container ship Rio Charleston in transit to Onne port.

“It is understood that the perpetrators attempted the boarding via the port side of the vessel. The vessel raised the alarm, increased speed, activated fire pumps and performed evasive manoeuvres. The assailants aborted the attempt, crew and vessel are safe,” reported Anderson.

Meanwhile, another vessel suspected of piracy was arrested by the Nigerian authorities on 18 May. The vessel and 51 crew, 48 Ghanaians and three South Koreans were on board the Marine 707, a fishing vessel.

However, Dryad said, “We see no evidence that this vessel was involved in piracy nor that there are any established piracy networks operating from within Ghana. Indeed it is highly improbable that this is the case instead it is far more likely that the vessel was involved in Illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activities, and or smuggling and trafficking activities.”

Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency were handed the Marine 707 under the Suppression of Piracy and other Maritime Offences Act in 2019.

Following their successful operation against the hijacked vessel Hailufeng 11 Nigeria were able to prosecute their first people under this law, which earned praise from the International Maritime Organization secretary general.

Anderson added, “Whilst we see attacks occurring beyond Nigerian waters, we see no evidence for sophisticated and large scale operations being run from within other countries.”

Nick Savvides
Managing Editor

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