Reporting indicates that whilst at anchor at the Limboh Terminal Anchorage the MT HAPPY LADY owned and managed by Greek Shipowner Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Ltd came under attack and was boarded. It is understood at this time that 8 crew have been kidnapped from the vessel with one individual believed to have been wounded in the incident.
Whilst details remain unclear, it is assessed that within this incident 5 Greek nationals, 2 Filipino and 1 Ukranian have been kidnapped. This incident is the latest kidnapping incident within the Gulf of Guinea since the kidnap of 2 personnel from a container vessel RENOVATION at the Douala anchorage on 22nd Dec 19.
This latest incident is yet another incident in the recent spike in incidents throughout December bringing the total number of kidnapper crew within the Gulf of Guinea in December alone to 57. The rapid increase in incidents is believed to be perpetuated in part by a confluence of factors including favorable conditions and reinforced successes. Lengthy turn around times at terminal locations present considerable security challenges for vessels seeking to reduce exposure to the risk of incident. In addition to this, a lack of coherent and coordinated security response means that pirates are able to operate between national maritime boundaries without restriction.
It is assessed that there are multiple PAG’s operating throughout the region, with a high degree of efficiency and confidence. This latest incident was 144nm east from an attack on a container vessel south of Bonny on the 30 Dec 19 during which the attack failed as a result of an embarked security team. Whilst a significant distance away, it is a realistic possibility that the latest attack was perpetrated by the same PAG seeking to target vessels operating in an area with less security infrastructure and subsequently increased opportunity.