Kidnapping on the Rise in the Gulf of Guinea
Friday, March 07, 2014
Image: Dryad Maritime

According to a special advisory warning recently issued by U.K. maritime intelligence provider Dryad Maritime, there has been an increased threat of crew kidnap in the Gulf of Guinea. And since the issue of Dryad’s warning, two further attacks on vessels have taken place within a single week, as two Nigerian-flagged vessels were targeted by maritime criminals on consecutive days, resulting in the kidnap of six crew members.

On March 4, multipurpose offshore vessel MV Prince Joseph 1 was attacked offshore Akwa Ibom state, closely followed by an attack on the offshore tug, MV Asha Deep one day later off Bayelsa state, a particular hotspot for recent incidents, Dryad said. These most recent attacks make this the largest surge over a three month period since Dryad’s records began with eight vessels attacked and 20 crew members kidnapped. In this short period, criminal gangs have operated across a wide area, from the seas off Nigeria to those off Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. At the time of writing it is assessed that 12 crew members remain in captivity.

Ian Millen, Dryad Maritime’s Director of Intelligence said, “The two incidents this week point to the operation of at least two separate criminal gangs, using the cover of estuaries and the riverine system of the Niger Delta to take their victims into captivity. If recent patterns are followed, it is likely that the latest attacks will have targeted senior crew, such as the Master and Chief Engineer, as these are the most likely to attract higher value ransom payments, often due to the fact that a large number will be non-Nigerian. This is based on previous intelligence which has seen such crew being singled out, especially ships’ Captains and Chief engineers.”

Pirates have also struck beyond the shores of Nigeria in the last three months with kidnaps of crew members from vessels in the seas off Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. In addition to this, Dryad assesses that a number of other unsuccessful attacks have probably been aimed at kidnap. In one probable attempt last year, a vessel was targeted some 160 nautical miles out to sea.

Millen said, “Whilst the kidnap of the U.S. Captain and Chief Engineer of the support vessel MV C Retriever in October 2013 received a high level of media coverage, the same cannot be said for those kidnapped since. Consequently, the true level of this type of maritime crime is not well understood. Ship owners whose crews are targeted are understandably tight-lipped during sensitive ransom negotiations, but their silence after the event does little to warn other seafarers of this threat or help others to understand the true scale of the problem.”

“When it comes to mitigating the diverse range of threats in the Gulf of Guinea, including kidnap, one size does not fit all. The key to success lies in finding the right mix of measures for the individual ship and its operating environment. Monitoring ships and actively diverting them away from known and emerging threats is our daily business, but there is much that vessels can do to help themselves, from remaining alert and observing best practice to having well drilled crews who understand what to do and how to call for assistance in the event of danger. The instances of unsuccessful attack that we have seen, have almost invariably been where ships have been aware of the threat and have taken action to avoid being boarded.”

  • Ian Millen (Photo: Dryad Maritime)

    Ian Millen (Photo: Dryad Maritime)

Maritime Reporter September 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds


Cordero Reconfirmed as FMC Commissioner

Mario Cordero was reconfirmed today as a U.S. Federal Maritime Commissioner.   Cordero joined the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) as a Commissioner on June 3,

Chiarello: TOTE Continues Support to El Faro Families

Anthony Chiarello, President & CEO of TOTE, owner of the cargo ship presumed to have sunk with 33 mariners aboard last week amid Hurricane Joaquin, issued a statement

White House Backs El Faro Investigation

President Barack Obama on Wednesday offered condolences to the families of the 33 sailors presumed to have lost their lives aboard cargo ship El Faro which is believed

Maritime Safety

White House Backs El Faro Investigation

President Barack Obama on Wednesday offered condolences to the families of the 33 sailors presumed to have lost their lives aboard cargo ship El Faro which is believed

U.S. Will Dispatch Warships to South China Sea

The United States is expected to sail warships close to China's artificial islands in the South China Sea within the next two weeks to signal it does not recognize

Indonesia, Australia on Joint Sea Patrol to Combat Illegal Fishing

Indonesian and Australian authorities have signed an agreement to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and to promote sustainable fisheries governance across the region.

Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Offshore Oil Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.2355 sec (4 req/sec)