Nigerian Pirates Kidnap Five In Gulf Of Guinea After Firefight With Escort Boat

BY MAREX 2019-03-13 13:15:47

According to the ICC IMB’s Piracy
Report, Nigerian pirates kidnapped five crewmembers from an OSV in the
Gulf of Guinea last weekend despite the efforts of a security escort
vessel. After an active firefight between the escort and the attackers,
pirates boarded the target vessel, ransacked its cabins and made off
with the victims. 

At about 1115 hours UTC on Saturday, at a
position about 30 nm off Brass, Nigeria, armed pirates in two speed
boats approached an OSV under way. The OSV’s captain called for help
from what IMB ICC described as a “naval escort security boat,” which
maneuvered to engage the attackers. One speed boat closed in from port
side of the vessel and crossed the bow, while the other speed boat
exchanged fire with the security boat. 

To defend themselves
against the attack, the OSV’s crew gathered in the engine room and shut
down all power. The pirates in the second speedboat boarded the vessel
using a ladder. They broke into the deckhouse, vandalized the cabins and
took crew belongings and vessel’s equipment. The pirates then proceeded
to the engine room, kidnapped five men and escaped. The remaining crews
sailed the vessel under escort to a safe anchorage. 

One Nigerian Navy armed guard was reportedly killed in the exchange of fire between the naval security boat and the pirates.

Nigeria
forbids the presence of embarked private maritime security contractors
at its seaports. This effectively prohibits Gulf of Guinea vessel
operators from using on-board armed guards, which have proven successful
in deterring pirates in the high-risk area off Somalia.
Instead,
Nigeria permits private contractors to provide for-hire Security Escort
Vessel (SEV) services using civilian boats and armed Nigerian Navy
active duty servicemembers. According to one well-regarded security
services firm, this system has historically been challenged by
“extremely high costs and issues of poor performance and reliability.”