Pirates operating off the coast of Nigeria have attacked a Maersk vessel operated by Hamburg-based Bernhard Schulte Ship management. The vessel was attacked by two speedboats in the Gulf of Guinea on Friday.
Equally important, the development was confirmed by a spokesman for Peter Doehle Schiffart and Bernhard Schulte; managers of the vessel. It was disclosed that after the Maersk Tema was attacked by two speedboats; the crew followed emergency procedures. However, the spokesman did not say whether the pirates had successfully boarded the ship.
Nevertheless, the Maersk Group in Copenhagen, Denmark, in its reaction to the incident; revealed that the vessel attacked was not one of their ships despite the similarity of name.
Meanwhile, nine out of 10 maritime incidents of piracy and kidnappings for ransom are reported in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea. The Gulf of Guinea 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. From January to September last year, 82% of maritime kidnappings in the world occurred in the Gulf of Guinea; according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
Pirates had also failed at a similar ship-hijacking incident in Bayelsa
Indeed, Friday’s incident is reminiscent of a similar one that occurred in Bayelsa in 2019.
1st News had reported that pirates operating off the coast of Nigeria reportedly chased and shot at a containership. However, the pirates failed in boarding the ship and abducting any of its crew. The incident, which occurred on Tuesday January 21st; was the first reported piracy incident in the Gulf of Guinea in 2020.
Disclosing details of the attempted abduction attempt by the pirates; the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre revealed that around 0935 local time on January 21; a speed boat with around 15 armed people on board chased and fired upon the ship. Equally important, the ship was around 19 nautical miles South West of Bayelsa in the Niger Delta region; when the incident occurred.