Nigerian Pirates Open Fire on Anchored Product Tanker

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Published Apr 17, 2019 10:54 AM by The Maritime Executive

On Monday, Nigerian pirates staged a daring attack on a product tanker at an anchorage in the Niger River Delta. 

At 2020 hours UTC, four armed attackers in a speedboat approached an unnamed product tanker at the Bonny River Inner Anchorage, just three nautical miles off Bonny Island. They successfully boarded the vessel and opened fire towards the accommodations block with automatic weapons. Nigerian naval guards were on board the tanker, and they returned fire, chasing off the attackers. The crew mustered in the vessel's citadel and notified the Nigerian Navy of the attack. 

One guard was injured in the exchange of fire, and the crew provided him with medical assistance. Two security boats responded to the scene, and one took the injured guard back to shore for medical treatment. 

The tanker's crew were reported safe, according to the IMB ICC. 

The Gulf of Guinea - especially the region near the Niger River Delta - is the world's most active piracy hotspot. In 2018, the Gulf of Guinea accounted for all six hijackings, 13 of the 18 ships fired upon, 130 of the 141 hostages held, and 78 of 83 seafarers kidnapped for ransom worldwide, according to the IMB. 

The violence accelerated in the last quarter of the year: 41 kidnappings were recorded off Nigeria between October and December, more than half the annual total. While these statistics are troubling, the actual frequency of piracy incidents in the region may be higher, as the IMB believes that about half of all attacks go unreported.