A group of armed pirates boarded a product tanker offshore Nigeria on Friday, July 17, and kidnapped 15 crew members, a report from maritime security firm Dryad Global shows.
The vessel in question has been identified as the 2007-built MT Curacao Trader, owned by UK-based Lomar Shipping, according to the data from VesselsValue. The double-hulled tanker is sailing under the Liberian flag.
Dryad said that the ship was boarded some 244 nautical miles South Cotonou / 210nm WSW Bayelsa State Nigeria.
“Initial reporting indicates that the vessel was approached by 8 armed individuals and boarded resulting in the kidnap of 15 crew,” the company said.
“The kidnapped crew are believed to be Russian and Ukrainian nationals.”
Prior to the attack, the vessel departed Lomé port sailing south before its speed dropped to 3 knots at the indicated time of the attack.
The location of this incident is the furthest offshore an act of piracy has been recorded within the Gulf of Guinea, Dryad pointed out.
“Despite the presence of speedboats, it remains highly likely that the perpetrators are being supported by a larger mother vessel, allowing them to sustain deep offshore operations beyond state counter piracy efforts,” the maritime security firm added.
With the latest incident, the total number of the kidnapped crew within the Gulf of Guinea has risen to 93 across 18 kidnapping incidents.
Kidnapping incidents within the Gulf of Guinea in 2020 are up by 20% when compared to the same time-frame in 2019.
The total volume of personnel kidnapped in maritime incidents within the Gulf of Guinea is up by 47% year-on-year.