Another vessel boarded by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea

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The Singapore-flagged tanker Success 9 has been boarded by pirates off the Ivory Coast in the latest attack in the region.

Security company Praesidium International reported that the vessel was boarded on 10 April while 500 km south of Abidjan.

“The Success 9 was proceeding northeast, likely repositioning herself, when her speed started dropping at around 0600 UTC. She then started drifting and was heading northwest when at 1425 UTC the AIS transmission was lost, possibly indicating the time the perpetrators took control of the vessel,” Preasidium stated.

“The tanker had been sailing regularly in this area, and was most probably involved in bunkering operations. This latest incident follows a series of attacks that have targeted smaller tankers trading locally in West Africa and is likely aimed at oil theft (so called ‘petro-piracy). The last attack that occurred in the area involved the Marshall Island-flagged tanker B Ocean on November 23rd, 2022 while most recently, on March 25th, another event involved the Liberian flagged tanker Monjasa Reformer off the coast of Congo. It appears that following the difficulties encountered on land since early 2022, Nigerian PAGs [pirate action groups] have thus shifted their modus operandi performing targeted intel-based offshore operations.”

EOS Risk Group warned that it’s likely a mothership was used to launch the latest attack, as it is beyond the normal range of small boats, and as the mothership is likely still in the area, vessels can expect other attacks.

Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea has been declining, but remains a concern as sporadic attacks are recorded, notably the attack on the Monjasa Reefer on 25 March. The vessel was subsequently abandoned several days after being boarded, but the pirates took several crew members with them. The vessel had 16 crew at the time it was boarded by five armed pirates off Congo’s pointe-Noire.