Ship boarded, crew members kidnapped south of Lagos

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Two Russian crew members of the cargo vessel Water Phoenix were kidnapped by pirates this week south of Lagos port, Nigeria’s largest and busiest.

Dryad Global reports the vessel was approached and boarded by an unknown number of people and two crew members kidnapped. They are both Russian nationals. One of those kidnapped is believed to be the vessel master. The vessel has a crew of 18 including seven Russians and 11 Filipinos.

AIS tracking indicates the vessel was on route to Lagos and undertook evasive manoeuvres before coming to a stop and was drifting after the boarding incident. It is unclear whether the perpetrators remained aboard or are in the area and all vessels in the area are advised to maintain heightened awareness.

This is the 13th reported incident in Lagos Port Complex and Anchorage waters in the past 12 months most of which have manifest as boarding for theft.

Currently 95 maritime personnel have been kidnapped in 18 incidents off the coast of west Africa this year. This is a slight increase in incidents and volume of personnel kidnapped compared with the same period in 2019.

This is the third offshore incident in waters south of Lagos in 2020.

The wider Nigerian EEZ remains the global heartland of maritime crime and piracy with incident volumes exceeding those of other area Dryad said. It is the 42nd incident in Nigerian territorial waters in the past 12 months.