Pirates attack tanker in Gulf of Guinea, kidnap 13 sailors

Pirates attacked the chemical tanker Curacao Trader about 210 miles (around 338km) off the coast of Benin, in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea, today, the vessel’s Greek operator said, according to the Maritime Bulletin.

The armed perpetrators boarded the ship and kidnapped “13 out of its 19 Ukranian and Russian crew members.”The vessel has been left drifting since the attack, due to the lack of manpower, but another ship has been sent to assist it.

MarsecNews Note: I should add that some outlets are reporting that 15 crew were taken hostage.

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Source: eturbonews.com

Minerva Marine tanker attacked by pirates off Benin

Jason Jiang

The 2006-built 51,000 dwt product tanker Minerva Virgo, owned by Greek owner Minerva Marine, was attacked by pirates off Cotonou, Benin in the Gulf of Guinea yesterday.

Maritime security consultants Ambrey reported in an advisory notice that the vessel has been attacked and boarded by pirates while it was en route from the Netherlands to Lagos, Nigeria. Ambrey described  the incident as ongoing and strongly advises vessels to respond accordingly.

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Source: splash247.com

MarsecNews: The original incident alert from MDAT-GoG contained few details, but there have been suggestions that one crew member may have been kidnapped, although this has not been verified.

Combating maritime piracy in Benin: the port of Cotonou takes 10 measures to strengthen the protection of ships on stopover

Romuald Ngueyap

(Ecofin Agency) – The autonomous port of Cotonou (PAC) wants to reassure its customers by strengthening security. In a circular note dated Tuesday 21 January 2020, CAP Director General Joris Albert Thys issued ten (10) measures to strengthen the protection of ships in the harbour against piracy.

Addressed to marine agents, ship consignors, handlers and shipowners, these measures include, among other things, the requirement for each vessel to have a marine agent, the allocation of a holding post for any vessel. depending on availability and the boarding of the required armed guard and free of charge for any ship to stay at the anchorage in Cotonou harbour.

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Source: agenceecofin.com

Fighting piracy in the Gulf of Guinea needs a radical rethink

By Dirk Siebels

The Bonita had been anchored off Benin for several days, waiting for a berth in the port of Cotonou. On November 2, 2019 the crew had a traumatic awakening. Armed men boarded the vessel and kidnapped nine crew members. Only two days later, four seafarers were kidnapped from the Elka Aristotle, which was anchored off Lomé in neighbouring Togo.

Unfortunately, these were not the only attacks off the coast of West Africa in which seafarers were kidnapped. Nevertheless, the patterns are changing, with gradual signs of improvement. In addition, attacker success rates in the region have declined from 80% over ten years ago to just under 50% in 2018.

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Source: econotimes.com

Nigeria to form border force with neighbors Benin and Niger to fight smuggling

Camillus Eboh

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria and neighboring countries Benin and Niger have agreed to set up a joint border patrol force to tackle smuggling between the West African countries, they said in a communique on Thursday.

Foreign ministers from the three countries met to discuss smuggling following a decision by regional giant Nigeria, which has Africa’s largest economy and biggest population, to close its land borders to trade until at least Jan. 31, 2020.

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Source: reuters.com

Benin scales up piracy preventing measures in Cotonou port

COTONOU, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) — Benin’s government on Wednesday announced scaled up protection, security and safety measures for hovering vessels in the Cotonou port.

The measures include the “provision of an armed protection squad on board”, according to a government release made public Wednesday night. “The presence of the squad is going to prevent any attempts of piracy and to alert operating centers”, the release also said.

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Source: xinhuanet.com

Nine sailors abducted off the coast of Benin

MV Bonita, image via J.J. Ugland.

A Norway-based shipping company says that nine of its employees have been abducted from one of its vessels while it was moored off the coast of Benin in West Africa.

Shipping firm J.J. Ugland said the cargo ship, the Bonita, was attacked on Saturday by pirates 15km (9 miles) off the coast.

The crew’s identity and nationality have not been made public, but the shipping firm said the rest of the crew moved the vessel into the Port of Cotonou in Benin.

The ship was carrying a cargo of gypsum, a mineral commonly used as fertiliser, which was destined for Benin, the firm said.

While piracy has decreased world wide, West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea remains notorious for abductions by armed groups who usually demand ransoms for the safe return of victims.

Several abductions have been reported in the region in recent months, including eight crew members taken from a German-owned vessel off Cameroon in August, and 10 Turkish sailors off the coast of Nigeria in July.

Source: bbc.com