UPDATE: Vessel Feared Hijacked Still Missing off Luanda

marinelink
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Dryad Photo: suspected pirate vessel underway.

Suspected pirate vessel off Angola. Dryad Maritime - a UK-based maritime intelligence firm - says situation has not changed since yesterday.

 

Dryad Maritime is warning of the possible hijack of a Liberian flagged tanker MT Kerala.  The vessel, owned by Dynacom Tankers, has been reported as missing off the coast of Angola, having last been sighted seven nautical miles NNW of Luanda.  The tanker’s disappearance may represent a significant extension of maritime crime emanating from the Gulf of Guinea region, most probably from Nigerian criminal gangs.

If confirmed as a hijack, this would be the furthest south that Nigerian-based criminals had struck for the purposes of refined product cargo theft – a crime hitherto perpetrated across the Gulf of Guinea region, from Abidjan (Ivory Coast) in the west to Port Gentil (Gabon) in the south. If the MT Kerala has been hijacked, an unfortunate coincidence will be at play, with Dynacom Tankers being the owners of the last vessel to be released by Somali pirates in 2013 (MT Smyrni) and the owners of the first hijacked vessel in West Africa in 2014.

The loss of communication with the tanker follows a number of warnings issued by Dryad  Maritime Intelligence to its clients of a suspect vessel operating off the Angolan coast.  The vessel, identified as a 200 ton tug, was originally thought to be operating in the waters to the east of Sao Tome before heading south toward the coast of Angola.  The suspect vessel was also sighted in a restricted area offshore Angola on 17th January, reportedly close to the anchored position of MT Kerala.

Ian Millen, Dryad Maritime’s Director of Intelligence: “This is a worrying development in West African maritime crime.  We have been watching Nigerian based pirates launch an increasing number of attacks on vessels in areas not normally associated with piracy of late. If substantiated, this latest incident demonstrates a significant extension of the reach of criminal groups and represents a threat to shipping in areas that were thought to be safe”.

Already in January 2014 Dryad Maritime Intelligence have reported the boarding of a tanker, MT Super League, 55 NM off the coast of Equatorial Guinea’s border with Gabon. This was then followed by the hijacking and kidnapping of three crew members from cargo vessel MV San Miguel just 20 NM off the coast of Bata, Equatorial Guinea.  Attacks on product tankers are usually launched for the purpose of refined product cargo theft or ‘Extended Duration Robbery’ (EDR) due to the relatively short period of vessel detention. This type of maritime crime has been perpetrated by Nigerian criminal gangs across the Gulf of Guinea for a number of years.  Originally conducted off Nigeria, cargo theft first migrated westward to Benin, Togo and Ivory Coast and then south to Gabon as security and awareness improved in each of these areas.  Once in control of a victim ship, the criminal gang force the vessel’s master to navigate to a location, normally offshore Niger Delta, where a portion of its cargo will be siphoned off to a smaller vessel, before the vessel and its crew are released.

“The criminal gangs that conduct this particular brand of intelligence-led maritime crime are well-prepared, well-armed and have specialist maritime knowledge and expertise.  Operations are primarily targeted at ships in offshore anchorages, sometimes during ship-to-ship cargo transfer ops (STS) with attacks mainly conducted under cover of darkness. The criminals usually disable communications and switch off AIS to avoid being detected, meaning that the first indication that owners have of the hijack is normally when they lose contact with the ship”, added Ian.

 

Dryad said this morning that the suspected pirate vessel has been seen on a course which would take it back to the Niger Delta Region. Also according to Dryad's Millen, the suspect vessel was relocated at approx. 0900 UTC today by Dryad’s analysts, 35nm to the west of Sao Tome island, heading north toward the Niger Delta region. Retrospective analysis of the track has shown that the suspected pirate vessel deliberately concealed its location and intelligence from sources in the area of the probable attack reported it was not answering VHF calls. Bayelsa and Delta States (Nigeria) are assessed to be the home of the criminal gangs that engage in refined product cargo theft and vessels are normally sailed under duress to areas offshore Niger Delta to illegally offload cargo.

Millen added this morning, "We have no contact or location on MT Kerala and would not expect to have any until the hijack was over.  The maritime criminals involved will routinely disable communications and any means by which they might be located. They will even to paint out IMO numbers and change the name of the ship to mask their identity."

Maritime Reporter June 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Vale Profit Falls Amidst Record Output

Brazilian miner Vale SA posted a sharp decline in profit from the previous quarter as lower iron ore prices undermined record production of the steel-making ingredient.

FERC Approves Freeport LNG Export Project

U.S. federal regulators on Wednesday approved construction of Freeport LNG Development LP's liquefied natural gas export project in Texas. Freeport is the third U.

ISC Profit Slip in Q2 2014 but Pay Dividend

International Shipholding Corporation (ISC) has announced financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2014, summarized here: Net Loss he Company reported a net loss of $664,

Ports

Pre-Mooring Safety Inspections at Trieste, Italy

The SIOT/TAL Terminal at Trieste has advised that the TAL Pre-Mooring Safety Inspection program will be modified from 1 September. The checks at road will affect:

MPHRP's Welfare Responder Training in Manila

Few people are as devoted to seafarers’ wellbeing as MPHRP’s partners, which include the members of the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network

Growing American Shipping Bill Introduced by Garamendi

Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA-03), Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure’s Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, informs ot the introduction of  H.

Maritime Security

Admiral on U.S. Navy & Asia Pacific Re-balancing Act

The commander of U.S. Pacific Command has briefed Pentagon reporters, discussing the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, successful engagement with partners

Hellfire Missile Firing a First for New Navy Helicopters

The Royal Australian Navy’s newest maritime combat helicopter, the MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’, has successfully fired its first ‘Hellfire’ missile in the United States.

USCG Cutter Waesche Home from RIMPAC Exercises

The Coast Guard Cutter Waesche has returned to port at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, after spending three weeks at sea participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014 exercises,

Maritime Safety

Hellfire Missile Firing a First for New Navy Helicopters

The Royal Australian Navy’s newest maritime combat helicopter, the MH-60R Seahawk ‘Romeo’, has successfully fired its first ‘Hellfire’ missile in the United States.

USCG Cutter Waesche Home from RIMPAC Exercises

The Coast Guard Cutter Waesche has returned to port at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, after spending three weeks at sea participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014 exercises,

UN Places Sanctions against North Korean Shippers

The United Nations Security Council has imposed sanctions on the North Korean shippers that operate the vessel Chong Chon Gang, seized by Panama in July 2013 for

Insurance

London Shipping Professionals Weigh in for SPNL Report

The Shipping Professional Network London (SPNL) has  released their full Future London report, an initiative that gathered the views and opinions of London’s young

Update: U.S. to Seize Kurdish Oil from Tanker off Texas

U.S. authorities are set to seize a cargo of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan anchored off the Texas coast after a judge approved a request from Baghdad, raising the stakes

South Korean Teens: Left to Escape Sinking Ferry

Students testify no help came from crew; Coastguard rescuers were passive, only pulling passengers out. Crew in a state of panic, witness says. Six teenagers

P&I Clubs

American P&I Club Rings in Posidonia

While Posidonia is well regarded for its exhibition, it is famous for its parties. The American Club held its traditional party on the evening of Thursday, May 29,

Update: U.S. to Seize Kurdish Oil from Tanker off Texas

U.S. authorities are set to seize a cargo of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan anchored off the Texas coast after a judge approved a request from Baghdad, raising the stakes

South Korean Teens: Left to Escape Sinking Ferry

Students testify no help came from crew; Coastguard rescuers were passive, only pulling passengers out. Crew in a state of panic, witness says. Six teenagers

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Repair Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1947 sec (5 req/sec)