Pirates target crude oil tanker off Nigeria

A crude oil tanker managed to escape pirate hands while sailing some 21 nautical miles South-Southwest of Bonny Island, Nigeria this Month

The tanker was approached by armed pirates in two speed boats at high speed, according to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre.

“The officer of the watch immediately raised the emergency alarm and the master notified the terminal who relayed the information to a Nigerian naval ship,” IMB said.

The master ordered the crew to secure all access to the vessel and retreat into the citadel.

The pirates’ attempts of boarding the tanker by using a ladder as they closed in on the vessel were thwarted by the bridge team who resorted to evasive maneuvers.

Shortly after, a Nigerian naval vessel arrived at the scene causing the pirate group to abandon their hijacking attempt.

“On seeing the approaching naval ship, the pirates aborted the attempted boarding and moved away. The tanker continued its passage,” IMB further added.

All crew members are reported to be safe.

The attack comes ten days after six crew members of a Panamax containership Demeter were kidnapped off Bonny, Nigeria on October 21st.

Speaking to World Maritime News Dryad Maritime Spokesperson Ken Johnson said that more attacks are likely to follow, as the monsoon season in the region is over setting the stage for more favorable conditions for the pirate groups to operate in.

There has been a tactical change employed by piracy groups off Nigeria over the last 18 months, as more attacks are taking place during daylight, Johnson explains. This is indicative of the pirate groups being more confident in their ability to attack ships at sea and get away with it without being caught by the Nigerian security forces.

Data from IMB ICC shows that 80 crew members were taken hostage in the first nine months of this year, three were injured and 2 killed in attacks on ships off Nigeria.

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