Pirates kidnap crew members off Cotonou …anchor ship in Lagos

Several crew members have been reported missing following a pirate attack on one of Mediterranean Shipping Company’s container ships off the coast of Benin (Republic of Benin), West Africa, according to

A small container ship belonging to MSC was attacked on January 2, 2019, in the Gulf of Guinea and several crew members were reported as missing, a spokesman for the shipping firm confirmed to World Maritime News.

He said, “MSC quickly secured the vessel and its cargo and ensured the safety of the remaining seafarers on board.”

He added, “Out of respect for the missing crew members and their families, MSC has no further comment for the time being.”

Media reports suggested that the vessel in question was the 46,852 dwt MSC Mandy.

A warning notice issued by NATO’s Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG), revealed that the vessel was attacked and boarded by pirates some 55 nautical miles off the coast of Cotonou, while it was traversing through the Gulf of Guinea.

The Automatic Identification System data provided by MarineTraffic showed that the 2,668 Twenty Equivalent Unit ship, which was sailing from the port of Lome, Togo, was currently anchored off Lagos.

The International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau had, in April, raised concerns about the surge in armed attacks against ships around West Africa, saying that it was pushing up global levels of piracy and armed robbery at sea.

The IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre recorded 66 incidents in the first quarter of 2018, up from 43 for the same period in 2017, and 37 in Q1 2016.

Worldwide, in the first three months of 2018, 100 crew members were taken hostage and 14 kidnapped from their vessels. A total of 39 vessels were boarded, 11 fired upon and four vessels hijacked. IMB received a further 12 reports of attempted attacks.

The Gulf of Guinea accounted for 29 incidents in 2018 Q1, more than forty per cent of the global total. Of the 114 seafarers captured worldwide, all but one was in this region, the report noted.

The Bureau also reported that in the first nine months of 2018, a total of 156 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported, compared to 121 for the same period in 2017.

The 2018 figure is broken down as 107 vessels boarded, 32 attempted attacks, 13 vessels fired upon and four vessels hijacked.
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