Gulf of Guinea; Pirates Strike Again, Kidnap 20 Seafarers

Another vessel have been attacked in Gulf of Guinea, the vessel is a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker name; DUKE.

She was attacked on Sunday as she sailed from Luanda, Angola, to Lomé, Togo.

Six pirates were reported to have boarded the vessel about 115 nautical miles south-east of Lomé and kidnapped all but one on board – believed to be a Nigerian national. The remaining crew of 20 Indian seafarers were kidnapped.

According to analysts from Dryad Maritime, the specific methodology used are unclear, but given that the incident occurred a significant distance offshore, the pirates are likely to have used a mothership to aid operations.

The incident is the largest kidnapping event in West Africa this year, and it follows the kidnap of 19 Indian nationals from the Nave Constellation on December 4.

The vessel was boarded and four personnel were kidnapped, three of which were recently released with the fourth dying from illness whilst captive.

This incident is reported to be the 10th maritime security incident and fourth kidnapping in the waters off Togo within 2019.

However, Dryad Maritime reports that it is not the largest kidnapping in the region. In February 2018, 22 Indian seafarers were kidnapped from the Marine Express offshore from Benin.

Dryad Maritime says: “The waters of Togo and Benin have thus far experienced a very slight reduction in number of incidents when set against those of 2018.

However, with five kidnaps within 2019 against zero in 2018, there has been a significant increase in serious maritime crime and there is a direct increase to the risk facing vessel and crews within this area”

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