Piracy attacks in Nigeria have always been a cause of concern for shippers as repeated attacks and hijacks puts cargo vessels and maritime trade in jeopardy. This time too a similar piracy attack resulted in a Maersk ship being hijacked.
Maersk Containership Hijacked
Reports suggest that multiple piracy attacks scared a Nigerian LNG vessel, LNG Lagos II. This gave enough time for the pirates to board and hijack a Maersk cargo ship in the Bonny Island waters.
According to a Dryad Global advisory, suspected pirates approached and boarded Singapore flagged Maersk containership called Maersk Cadiz (IMO No. 9526459).
The pirates reportedly hijacked the ship while they sailed from Tema to Kiribi in South West Bonny Island. They were traveling at a speed of 118 nautical miles.
The Maersk vessel has now been secured and all the 21 crew are safe, said the shipping giant in a statement. Maersk has urged global action to tighten security in the region.
“We are very concerned about the increased security risk from armed attacks on merchant vessels in the area,” Maersk Chief Technical Officer Palle Laursen said in a statement. “The risk has reached a level where local governments and the international community must take action to deal effectively with an unacceptable situation.”
Meanwhile, NLNG has issued a statement that no personnel on their scarred ship has been affected and the crisis has been averted. They are monitoring the situation and will notify authorities in case any new developments
High Alert on Gulf of Guinea
Nigerian authorities have been alerted after the incident who have further issued alert notice for ships in the area.
“All vessels are reminded that the risk profile for the wider JWC-025 GoG HRA is CRITICAL, indicating that attacks are highly likely, expected daily.
Reportedly, there has been an increased piracy risk in the Gulf Guinea since last month.
“There has been a surge of incidents in the past five weeks, resulting in an increased risk rating for the Gulf of Guinea HRA to CRITICAL on 11th November. The increase in risk profile was further underpinned by the release of an imminent attack warning by MDAT-GoG covering the waters of ECOWAS Areas F, E, D.
Vessels Advised To Be Vigilant
With the recent events in mind, authorities have alerted shippers that to operate their vessels in this area “maintaining the highest levels of vigilance whilst implementing full hardening/mitigation in accordance with BMP West Africa where possible”.
Vessels are advised to remain 200-250nm offshore.