Gulf of Guinea pirates strike again


The Maltese-flagged chemical tanker Sea Ranger was the second in a week to be on the unwanted receiving end of attention from pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, while five crew have been kidnapped off a Cameroonian-flagged vessel.

The 127 metre long Sea Ranger was boarded some 160 nautical miles south-west of Brass, Nigeria, with Dryad Global reporting the incident is “concluded” and both vessel and crew safe.

The boarding is the second this week in the Gulf of Guinea and the third time Sea Ranger was boarded this month (December).

“There have been a surge of incidents in the past five weeks, resulting in an increased risk rating for the Gulf of Guinea to critical on 11 November.

“As failed attacks continue, perpetrators are likely to increase in desperation. This is because of increased risk to themselves from naval counter-piracy activity and logistical strain. Vessels are most vulnerable when skiffs approach under cover of darkness, approaching and boarding with little or no resistance,” according to a Dryad Global report.

Praesidium International, meanwhile, reported that on 10 December, the Cameroon-flagged product tanker CAP Saint Georges was apparently boarded by an unknown number of perpetrators. As per initial reports it appears that five crew members have been abducted (3 Cameroonians, 1 Ghanaian and 1 Sierra Leonian).

The CAP Saint Georges had departed Douala, Cameroon, on 11 November and was underway to her current home port of Lomé, Togo, when the attack occurred. “Track analysis indicates that no alteration of course or speed was recorded during the reported incident timings. The incident occurred in an area that has been relatively clear of piracy activity in the last year also due to the close proximity of Bonga FPSO (floating production storage and offloading unit),” Praesidium said.

“It is worth mentioning that recently the area South of Lomé up to South West of Bonny Island has experienced an upsurge in piracy related incidents due to the presence of possibly two active Nigerian based Pirate Action Groups.”

Dryad Global said the CAP Saint Georges incident marked the 26th kidnapping in the Gulf of Guinea High Risk Area (HRA) in 2020, bringing to 130 the number of people kidnapped.

“There have 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. This is the 8th incident in the GoG HRA in December. The previous 7 incidents have consisted of 4 attacks, 3 boardings and an approach, all of which have been unsuccessful,” Dryad said.