Gulf of Guinea still a pirate hotspot
6 Mar 2019 - by Chanté Ho Hip
Pirate attacks are continuing to rise in the Gulf of Guinea, according to piracy watchdog ReCAAP ISC.
In an incident at the end of February, four armed men attempted to board the 3 889-TEU Kota Satria.
Two of the crew tried unsuccessfully to throw a hook ladder over the ship’s side.
Two gun shots were fired at the bridge of the Pacific International Line-owned ship as the ship master initiated security protocol measures and contacted company security.
Nothing was stolen and none of the crew members were injured.
In a separate attack three crew members were kidnapped off the Romanian Histria Ivory tanker 20 nautical miles off the port of Lome in Togo on Sunday.
In a statement, the Romanian Free Trade Union of Navigators urged vessels to be extremely cautious.
“In high-risk areas, it is necessary to increase vigilance on the bridge and tune radar for small distances to prevent any attempted attack to succeed,” said the union.
“There is an urgent need for increased cooperation and sharing of intelligence between the Gulf of Guinea’s littoral states so that effective action can be taken against pirates, both at sea and on-shore where their operations originate and end,” the International Maritime Bureau said in its 2018 piracy report.
The report categorised the Gulf of Guinea as the world’s leading piracy hotspot. In 2018, 13 ships were fired at, six hijacked, 13 hostages taken and 78 of 83 seafarers kidnapped for ransom.