Car Carrier Chased by Pirates
Pirates in two speed boats chased and fired on a car carrier off the coast of Nigeria on Tuesday.
The master raised the alarm, mustered all crew and activated the water hoses. After three hours the pirates abandoned the chase. One crew member reported minor injuries as a result of the attack which is believed to be the first in the region this year.
The International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center reports the vessel, whose identity was not revealed, was underway around 37 nautical miles southwest of Bayelsa, Nigeria.
There were 49 piracy incidents reported in the Gulf of Guinea region in 2015, a 29 percent decrease on 2014, according to annual report by Dryad Maritime. At least 37 crew were kidnapped in the region in 2015.
Some of the pirate attacks in Gulf of Guinea in 2015 include:
Eight armed pirates boarded the Nigerian oil tanker MT Mariam in the early hours of January 17, 2015. Before being taken captive the ship's owners managed to alert the Ghanian Navy. While the pirates were preoccupied with siphoning the crude oil into a barge, a Ghanian Navy vessel swooped in and managed to arrest all eight pirates without resistance.
Dozens of armed pirates boarded the Malta-flagged Kalamos in February while it was anchored off the coast of southeastern Nigeria. After stealing all the crude oil they could haul-off, three crew members were taken prisoner and the ship's deputy commander was summarily executed.
In April 2015, three French oil workers working for Bourbon were kidnapped after their Surfer 1440 speedboat was boarded by a group of armed pirates. After being kept prisoner in the Niger Delta for nearly a month, the men were released without incident.
Ten armed pirates in two speedboats boarded the Malaysian oil vessel MT Imas 25 nautical miles off the coast of Lagos in April. Security personnel operating the vessel radioed in a distress call which was picked-up by the Nigerian Navy. After a brief exchange of gunfire, the pirates surrendered without any injuries being reported.
The Comoros-flagged cargo ship Reefer Solarte was hijacked in October, 2015, by a group of armed pirates off the coast of Port Harcourt. The pirates stole the ship's cash, destroyed electronic equipment, and kidnapped for crewmembers. After weeks of negotiating, the Russian company that owned the ship paid the ransom demanded and the sailors were released on November 16.
On November 27, 2015, the Cyprus-flagged cargo vessel Szafir was boarded by a group of heavily armed pirates 30 nautical miles off the Nigerian coast. The pirates opened fire from the two speed boats they were sailing in and forced the cargo ship to drop anchor before being boarded and looted. After the pirates looted the ship of any cash and valuables, they took the ship's captain and four Polish sailors hostage. The sailors were released after their ransom was paid.