A piracy attack on the 5,550TEU container ship Tonsberg in the Gulf of Guinea has been confirmed and has led to the kidnapping of at least six seafarers, while several reports mention that nine crew members have been kidnapped. Additionally, there is one seafarer injured by gunshot wounds to the leg, according to The Danish Armed Forces.
A frigate of the Danish navy, Esbern Snare, was deployed in the anti-piracy operation on 13 December, after receiving information about possible piracy activities around the island of Bioko off Equatorial Guinea, in international waters.
The Danish frigate achieved to find the 2000-built container ship Tonsberg after approximately three hours, assisted from its Seahawk helicopter.
The helicopter detected a smaller vessel, a so-called skiff, on the side of the container vessel, where a number of suspected pirates and hostages were onboard.
According to the Danish Armed Forces, pirates on the skiff threw objects overboard, apparently to be able to sail faster, and then set course for the north and the Niger Delta with the hostages onboard. The Seahawk helicopter followed the skiff for a while at a safe distance so as not to expose the hostages to danger, and then returned to Esbern Snare, which is not allowed to pursue pirates in national waters.
The injured crew member was later taken aboard the Esbern Snare to receive medical attention, and according to the Danish Naby, his condition is stable.
This is the 10th kidnapping case in 2021, while the number of kidnapped personnel prior to Tonsberg's latest incident was 70, according to the maritime security firm, Dryad Global, which reported on 13 December, "Reporting indicates that a container ship has been attacked at location 03 11 N -007 49 E, 48nm SW Luba."
The Post Panamax vessel, owned by Greek ship owner Technomar and chartered by the French global carrier CMA CGM, was en route from Kribi Deepwater port in Cameroon to the Port of Cotonou in Benin, according to VesselsValue data.