The Gulf of Guinea continues to live up to its world’s worst rating for pirate and ship attacks with at least another three reported off the west African coast in recent days.
The latest was on Monday (16 November) when the tanker Stelios K stopped position reporting, some 40 nautical miles south-south-east of Lomé. According to Praesidium International, the vessel had left Athens (Greece) in early October and was proceeding towards Lagos (Nigeria) when the incident occurred. Subsequent reports have confirmed that the vessel was boarded and remains in control of the perpetrators as of 18 November.
Also on Monday, the Ghanaian flagged cargo vessel AM Delta was reportedly boarded by up to eight men, 48 nautical miles south of Brass. Five crew members were apparently kidnapped and the vessel’s bridge was damaged in the attack.
Last Friday Zhen Hua 7 was boarded while adrift of Bonny Island. It was subsequently confirmed 14 or 27 crew members were abducted.
The kidnapping was, according to Praesidium International, the first ever in the Sao Tome and Principe exclusive economy zone (EEZ).
The general area of Togo, Benin and western/south-western Nigerian EEZ has seen a dramatic increase in piracy events in November, likely following the improved sea conditions at the end of the rainy season and the recent release of kidnapped crew. The presence of a PAG in the area cannot the ruled out at present Praesidium warns.