Three vessels have been attacked in the Gulf of Guinea in the latest incidences of piracy and maritime crime off West Africa, with six crew apparently kidnapped.
The incidents all happened on 9 May off the coast of Equatorial Guinea. According to Preasidium International, the Equatorial Guinea-flagged research/survey vessel Djibloho was attacked and boarded by a group of unknown men, with three crew likely kidnapped (two Russians and one Equatoguinean).
Meanwhile, whilst within the Malabo anchorage area off Equatorial Guinea, the Comoros flagged general cargo vessel Rio Mitong was approached by a speedboat whose perpetrators used a ladder to board the vessel and kidnap two crewmembers, apparently one Russian and one Ukrainian national. Praesidium reported that the perpetrators left the area and proceeded towards Cameroon.
The Rio Mitong had arrived to Malabo from Abidjan around June 2019 in support of the Ounta Europa LNG project and since then had remained within the Malabo anchorage area, occasionally reaching the berth.
“According to our sources some of the remaining crew members have sustained gunshot injuries,” Praesidium said.
Later during the morning of 9 May, a speedboat similar to the one used during the Malabo attack was spotted by the Cameroonian authorities close to the area of Tiko.
“If confirmed this latest incident would bring the total number of persons kidnapped in maritime crime incidents throughout the region to 52,” Dryad Global said. “Whilst the trend of incidents within West Africa is showing a gradual decline, there is an upward trend in severity of incidents notably those involving kidnap for ransom.”
The third attack on 9 May, northwest of Malabo, involved the Chinese flagged tanker Yuan Qiu Hu. According to Praesidium, a speedboat started chasing the tanker, prompting the Master to increase speed. The tanker alerted authorities and Cameroon Forces (BIR) sent a patrol boat, which arrived in the area 45 minutes later. The perpetrators aborted the approach and left the area.