Three vessels hijacked in the Gulf of Guinea within seven days

Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea continues to skyrocket, with as many as three hijackings taking place in the Gulf within just seven days.

The latest in the long list of hijackings in the Togo-flagged bunkering vessel Stelios K As per reports, the ship was boarded and hijacked while it was en route to Lagos.

We analyzed the situation using FleetMon’s Historical Track feature. The latest position received 4 days ago showcases its location in the Gulf of Guinea Central.

AIS tracking shows that the vessel took two sharp turns off of its course and slowed from 6.7 kn to 0.4 kn meaning it was eventually stopped before the AIS signal was turned off.

As confirmed by the Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG), attackers are still onboard. This could only mean one thing, that the perpetrators potentially sought options for either offloading or selling refined products that may be on board.

The Gulf of Guinea saw a sharp increase in incidents last week, including two successful kidnappings within three days. They include pirates kidnapping five crew from the Ghanaian-flagged general cargo vessel AM Delta off South Brass, and 14 crew from the Liberian-flagged Heavy Load carrier Zhen Hua 7 off Sao Tome.

The potential for high profits—along with high unemployment along the coast, weak security and a lack of judicial enforcement of maritime laws in many West African countries—makes the Gulf of Guinea especially attractive for pirates and other criminals.

Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea continues to be a concern to the shipping industry, which is affected significantly. All the same, the regional governments agree to the fact that the fight against piracy requires a detailed knowledge of maritime security and laws in and around the Gulf of Guinea.

Original story posted in Maritime Security by Ankur Kundu