Reporting indicates that the Liberian flagged Heavy Load carrier ZHEN HUA 7 (IMO9166560) has been boarded while drifting 78nm NW of Sao Tome.
Early but unconfirmed reports have indicated that some crew is unaccounted for.
This is the 8th offshore incident within the Gulf of Guinea within 9 days. The risk profile for all vessels operating within the region has been CRITICAL with attacks assessed as highly likely / expected daily. Following a spate of failed boarding’s South of Cotonou and Bayelsa State, Nigeria, it was assessed that vessels with more vulnerable vessel parameters would likely be sought out by the perpetrators as desperation increased.
The ZHEN HUA 7 has been present within the location for some time and is of a unique design that presents significant challenges with regards to anti-piracy mitigation.
Early, but currently unconfirmed reports indicate that some crew has not been accounted for. If confirmed this would be the 21st kidnapping incident within the Gulf of Guinea within 2020 with 95 crew having been held captive in 2020 also.
Dryad will update accordingly. All vessels are reminded that the risk profile remains CRITICAL and all vessels are encouraged to maintain heightened vigilance and employ maximum hardening where possible.
All vessels operating within the area are encouraged to operate at the highest levels of vigilance and deploy full hardening/mitigation measures where possible. The risk profile for the wider Gulf of Guinea region at this time is CRITICAL with attacks assessed as highly likely / expected daily.