Nigerian Pirates Kidnap Six Boxship Crewmembers

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Published Oct 23, 2017 7:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

At 0600 on Saturday morning, eight pirates boarded the 3,000 TEU container ship Demeter at a position 40 nm south of Bonny Island, Nigeria. The attackers took six crewmembers hostage. All 12 remaining members of her crew are unharmed, and they navigated their vessel to safety, according to a statement from the ship manager. 

The kidnapping victims include the Demeter's cook, bosun, second engineer, second officer, captain and chief mate. Efforts to secure their release continue, and the vessel's flag state and owner are participating.

The IMB ICC recorded 20 successful pirate attacks in waters off Nigeria for the nine months ending in September. Almost all of them occurred while the vessel was under way, and the attackers’ objectives frequently included kidnapping. In all, 39 crewmembers were victims of an attempted or successful kidnapping off Nigeria during the year through September. "Pirates / robbers are often well armed, violent and have [hijacked, robbed, kidnapped and injured] crews along the coast . . . [and] in the past, attacks have been reported up to 170 nm from the coast," IMB warns. "Generally, all waters in / off Nigeria remain risky." 

Stowaways menace cargo ship crew

On Saturday, the Uruguayan Navy received a distress call from the master of the bulker Friederike, which was arriving in South American waters on a voyage from Lagos, Nigeria. The Friederike had departed Lagos with four Nigerian stowaways on board, and according to local outlet Montevideo Portal, they mutinied during the voyage and threatened the crew. The navy dispatched the frigate Uruguay with a detachment of marines to respond to the situation, and they were able to resolve the disturbance and return control of the vessel to her master. The stowaways will be transferred to police custody.