Eight Kidnapped Tanker Crewmembers Released
The Greek shipping ministry announced Wednesday that eight abducted crewmembers from the Greek tanker Happy Lady have been released after successful negotiations with their kidnappers.
On the night of December 30, armed attackers came on board the product tanker Happy Lady at an anchorage about two nautical miles off the Limboh Terminal in Cameroon. The pirates abducted one Ukrainian, two Philippine nationals and five Greek nationals out of the 28-member crew. One additional Greek seafarer was injured during the altercation.
The attack on the Happy Lady brought the tally of kidnapped mariners in the Gulf of Guinea to 57 for the month of December, according to maritime security consultancy Dryad Global, capping a year which saw the West African region soar to the top of the charts for maritime piracy. Approximately 120 kidnappings were reported in the Gulf of Guinea over the course of 2019.
This week also marked the first pirate attack off the Niger Delta in 2020. According to the ICC IMB, a group of about 15 attackers in a speedboat approached a container ship about 20 nm off Bayelsa on the morning of January 21. The ship increased speed and the crew took shelter in the vessel's designated citadel. The container ship had armed guards on board, and they exchanged fire with the attackers. This caused the pirates to break off the attempt and depart, and the vessel and crew are reportedly safe.