Pirates Attack German Containership Maersk Tema in Niger Delta

A vessel operated by Hamburg-based Bernhard Schulte Ship management was attacked by two speedboats in the Gulf of Guinea on Friday.

The Maersk Tema was attacked by two speedboats off the Nigerian coast, a spokesman for Peter Doehle Schiffart and Bernhard Schulte said.

The crew followed emergency procedures, but the spokesman did not say whether the pirates had boarded the ship.

The Maersk Group in Copenhagen, Denmark, said that despite the name, it was not one of their ships.

Maersk Tema was at 200 nautical miles South West Bonny and was underway from Point Noir to Lagos when it was attacked.

According to Dryad Global, this incident is coming barely two months after a bulk carrier, Vinalines Mighty was attacked and boarded by three pirates 40 nautical miles off Bonny on December 31, 2019.

“Two unknown men are believed to have boarded the vessel and two skiffs were seen in the vicinity of the attack. Further reporting suggests that the crew members have reached the citadel.

“The vessel is currently drifting 200 nautical miles, South West Bonny and 40 nautical miles, South East of the Eastern fringe of the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

“This latest incident sits 40 nautical miles South East of a boarding incident which occured on the 31 of Dec 2019 where the Bulk carrier VINALINES MIGHTY was boarded by three pirates.

“This latest incident is the 5th incident to occur within the Nigeria – Sao Tome JDZ since November 2019.

“It is assessed that after a brief hiatus, pirates have returned to an area that saw considerable success within 2019.

Pirates operating within this area are assessed to be seeking to exploit the relative lack of established security presence in the waters beyond the Nigerian EEZ.

“Pirates have shown a capability and intent to attack large vessels underway, indicating a high degree of confidence and capability. It is assessed as highly likely that pirates operating within this area have originated from within Nigeria and are likely to do so with support from a larger vessel.

“The conduct of deep offshore pirate operations beyond the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone was a significant feature of West African piracy throughout 2019,” Dryad Global said.

Nine out of 10 maritime incidents of piracy and kidnappings for ransom are reported in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea, which stretches 5,700 kilometres (3,500 miles) from Senegal to Angola.

As the number of crew members kidnapped by pirates worldwide decreased, the number reported in the Gulf of Guinea increased from 78 in 2018 to 121 in 2019.

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