Ince Gordon Dadds partner Carrie Radford and senior associate Lucy Espley comment on the extraordinary Brillante Virtuoso case
In 2011, the 1992-built Suezmax tanker Brillante Virtuoso was within Yemeni waters waiting for a security team. A small boat approached carrying seven armed persons. The master allowed them to board, apparently believing they were the security team. The ‘security team’ hijacked the ship and within hours set the vessel on fire. The ship was abandoned, the crew was rescued by a passing ship and Brillante Virtuoso was later sold for scrap.
The vessel’s owner, Suez Fortune Investments Limited, and mortgagee bank, Piraeus Bank AE, brought a claim on the vessel’s war risks policy for a constructive total loss, totalling US$77M, claiming that the loss of the vessel was caused by piracy or hijacking.
A Ghanaian mariner, Jewel Ahiagble, who worked on contract as an Electrical Engineer on a vessel which was hijacked by Somali pirates for about 1000 days in 2009, has survived narrowly to give a harrowing account of the voyage.
Opening up for the first time since the crew’s rescue in 2012, Mr. Ahiagble recounted the chilling tale of torture, violent abuses, deaths, anxiety and trauma to host Winston Amoah on the #RoadtoGlory segment of 3FM’s Sunrise.
A Palau flagged Tanker, MT APECUS, hijacked off the coast of Bonny, Nigeria last month has been conducting trading activities in Nigerian waters since 2014 without permit, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said Monday.
Nevertheless, the agency said it was committed to rescue the abducted seven crew, comprising five Indian nationals and two other individuals of unspecified nationality.
On 21 April, fishing vessels FV Adria and FV Txori Argi were attacked by suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean, 280 NM off the coast of Somalia. The piracy attacks were thwarted, and the crew and vessels remained safe, thanks to the application of Best Management Practices (BMP) protection measures by the Masters, the crews and the private security teams embarked on both fishing vessels.
EU NAVFOR Somalia Operation Atalanta confirms these attacks. It is likely that the attacks were facilitated by a mothership, which was reportedly seized by armed men on 19 April off the central Somali Coast.
EU NAVFOR subsequently dispatched its Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircrafts to search the area. In addition, EU NAVFOR flagship ESPS Navarra left the port in Mombasa in order to proceed into the area.
On 23 April, ESPS NAVARA successfully intercepted and boarded the dhow being used as a mothership.
The operation is still ongoing, and more details will be provided upon completion. EU NAVFOR remains committed to deterring, preventing and suppressing piracy and emphasizes that the Maritime Industry must adhere to BMP measures in order to maximize the safety of the ship and their crews whilst transiting the high-risk area.
SPANISH patrol boat rescued a Nigerian merchant ship which had been
kidnapped by pirates in the Guinean Gulf, reports the ministry of
The P-71 Serviola is based on the west African coast and was carrying out security operations on Tuesday when its crew located the ship, which was navigating ‘erratically’ and without transmitting via the Automatic Identification System (AIS). Spanish Naval officials radioed the ship’s crew, who confirmed they had been hijacked four days ago.