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.
Italian offshore supply ship REMAS with 35 people on board was attacked by some 7-8 armed pirates in two fast boats on Nov 11, in Gulf pf Mexico, N of Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico. Pirates boarded the ship, in following skirmish two crew, both Italians, were wounded, but luckily, wounds aren’t life threatening. Pirates managed to loot the ship and the crew, and fled. Injured seamen were transferred to hospital, REMAS moved to Ciudad del Carmen anchorage and anchored.
Offshore supply ship REMAS, IMO 9586459, dwt 2681, built 2011, flag Italy, manager MICOPERI, Ravenna.
LOME (Reuters) – Pirates attacked a Greek oil tanker off the coast of Togo in the early hours of Monday and fled after taking four crew members as hostages, the West African nation’s navy said, two days after a similar attack in the waters of neighbouring Benin.
Of the missing crew members, two are Filipinos, one is Greek and one is Georgian, the navy said in a statement. One security guard was also shot and wounded in the attack, it said. “Monday, 4th of November 2019, around 0300, the tanker boat Elka Aristotle […] was attacked around 18 kilometres (11 miles) from the port of Lome by armed individuals,” the statement said.
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.
MOSCOW, Russia – Moscow on Sunday, September 22, said 3 Russian
seamen abducted in an act of piracy off the coast of Cameroon in August
have been freed and brought to Germany.
The Russians were part of a group of sailors, including Chinese and Ukrainian citizens, taken hostage in mid-August after an attack on their merchant ships in the Gulf of Guinea. In a statement, the Russian foreign ministry said they were “released from pirate captivity” and that their health was “satisfactory.”
Autonomous ships are a hot topic in the maritime sector; piracy and
armed robbery too. Since the beginning of the year, according to the
IMB, almost 100 attacks have been committed against ships all around the
world. 2018 saw a marked increase in attacks compared to the past few
Here is an attempt to describe an autonomous ship hijacking scenario.
In 2025, an autonomous ocean-going container ship is chartered on a busy commercial line between China and Europe. The vessel is a level four autonomous ship according to the IMO classification  . The vessel is underway, and she is now passing through Malacca Strait. All sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) processes are working hard to avoid collision with others vessels, keep water under the keel and maintain the vessel on track .
Yaoundé (AFP) – Asian and European seamen were kidnapped Thursday aboard a vessel in the Gulf of Guinea off the southern Cameroon port of Douala, a senior Cameroonian navy source said.
“(They) were abducted this morning,” said the source, who gave no details about the number or nationality of the kidnap victims. “The kidnappers are probably Nigerian pirates,” the source said. “Cameroonian forces have launched search operations.”
MSM Note: Some media sources have stated that Cameroonian naval personnel were also abducted during the attack.