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Piracy Incident Report: Nigeria

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Piracy Incident Report: 451

Incident Type:Boarded
Area: Around 19nm South of Kwa Ibo, Nigeria
Position: 04°13’N - 007°57’E
Date of Incident:18.05.15 REPORTED LATE
Time of Incident (LT): 2340
Information Source: :: : IMB

 Six pirates armed with guns approached a drifting vessel in their speed boat and boarded. They assaulted three duty crew members one of whom was injured. The alarm was raised and the rest of the crew took shelter in the safe room. Attempts to contact the security vessel received no response. At 0400 LT, the crew members emerged from the safe room and found that five crew members had been kidnapped. After negotiations, on 03.06.2015 the five abducted crew members were released safely. It is not known if a ransom had been paid.

Allmode Comment:

It is not known whether this is the same incident as report 443, as it appears to contain some similarities to this incident, although the number of persons kidnapped differs slightly. Kidnapping for ransom is on the rise in the waters off Nigeria and pirates are extracting undisclosed sums of ransom payments from oil companies operating in the region. Many vessels are forced to anchor off Nigeria with little protection, making them a soft target for criminals, as international navies and private security companies are not permitted to operate in the region, unless they have specific permission. This still remains a grey area and the increase in threat to shipping is pushing up insurance premiums in the region.

Capture94

Piracy Incident Report: 443

Incident Type:Hijack
Area: approximately 23 nm south of Port Harcourt
Position: 04°01’ N - 007°05’ E
Date of Incident: 14.05.2015
Time of Incident (LT): Not Given
Information Source: :: : MTISC-GOG

On 14 May, pirates boarded two vessels near position 04:01 N - 007:05 E. A platform supply vessel was boarded and then used to attack a self-propelled barge. Pirates kidnapped six crewmembers from one vessel and three from the other. There are currently no further details.

Allmode Comment

The waters off the Niger Delta continue to be hotspot locations for maritime criminality as we have seen a number of incidents occur within this region in the last two months. The creek areas of the Niger Delta serve as bases for well-armed criminal gangs and their relative inaccessibility make them ideal holding areas for maritime kidnap victims while ransom negotiations take place. All maritime operators should familiarise themselves with the threats pertinent to the specific areas they transit through good intelligence support and specific threat and risk assessments which should be conducted prior to passaging these regions. Ship owners and managers are strongly advised to review the current level of security training that crews have received for vessels operating in this region. Please contact Allmode for more information on training and security services [email protected] or visit our website www.allmode.org

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Piracy Incident Report: 436

Incident Type:Fired Upon
Area: close to Okoro oil Field, Bight of Bonny, Nigeria.
Position: 04°27’N - 007°50’E
Date of Incident: 26.05.15
Time of Incident (LT): 0855
Information Source: :: SicuroIMS

 An MT (believed to be MT INTERIM) reported being attacked by twelve armed pirates all wearing black shirts, close to the Okoro oil fields, offshore in the Bight of Bonny. The pirates used two speed boats (one blue in colour) to approach the vessel at the port bow. At least five of the pirates were seen to be armed with AK-47 assault rifles. Immediately, the crew mustered in the accommodation room, whilst the Master raised the alarm on the SSAS. The Naval personnel on-board the vessel started to exchange gunfire with the pirates and as a result, one pirate was injured and damage was sustained to the pirate vessel. Following this exchange, the pirate gang retreated.

Allmode comment:

A significant amount of oil fields are located in the Bight of Bonny, and as a result this area is targeted mainly for the associated assets of this trade, whether that be the oil itself from the tankers transporting it to and from the oil fields or the personnel working for the oil companies, who have previously been kidnapped for ransom. The Nigerian Navy have a presence in the area and are keen to protect the assets associated with the highly priced oil industry. However, the pirate gangs are not deterred by their presence and will attempt theft of cargo and kidnappings of crew, regardless. Pirate Action Groups (PAG’s) operating in this region are usually well armed and will exchange gunfire with naval personnel and are not concerned with who is caught in the cross fire. The large number of pirates involved can sometimes be enough to over-power the naval security personnel, who are split between many vessels, therefore it is essential that companies have a well-trained and knowledge crew and all vessels operating within this region need to have stringent security procedures in place and remain extra vigilant. Please contact Allmode for more information on training and security services [email protected] or visit our website www.allmode.org

Capture70  

Piracy Incident Report: 412

Incident Type:Boarding
Area: Around 13nm Offshore Bonny, Nigeria.
Position: 04°13’ N - 007°23’E
Date of Incident: 21.04.2015 Reported late
Time of Incident (LT): 0145
Information Source: :IMB

Ten pirates, armed with firearms and pirating equipment, approached a moored floating storage and offloading vessel, in their fast wooden boat. Four of the pirates managed to board the vessel, but were spotted by the duty crew, who raised the alarm and mustered the crew into a safe room. The on-board Naval personnel fired a warning shot, which resulted in the pirates aborting the boarding and making their escape. All vessels within the area were warned.

Allmode Comment:

The presence of the Naval personnel has prevented the pirates from succeeding in their robbery attempt. Vessels are reminded, that only Naval security guards can be used in the territorial waters of Nigeria. However, vessel hardening measures are strongly advised to all vessels transiting this region as they can help to mitigate the risk of pirates boarding. 

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Piracy Incident Report: 393

Incident Type: Boarding /Hijack
Area: Nigeria
Position: Exact position unknown
Date of Incident: 08/04/15
Time of Incident: Unknown
Information Source: media sources

An oil industry support vessel, owned by a French company, Bourbon, has been attacked by pirates off the coast of Nigeria. In the attack, three Nigerian workers have been kidnapped. An emergency unit was activated after the incident, but at present the whereabouts of the kidnapped crew is unknown. Bourbon operates a fleet of light, fast cruisers it calls “Surfers” (250 of these) that are used to move professionals to offshore oil and gas sites. The boat that was boarded, was “Surfer 1440”

Allmode Comment:

Due to the nature of these small fast-crafts, having a low freeboard and few crew, they could prove to be an easy target for pirate gangs to board. The pirate gangs off the Nigerian coast also use fast-craft, and, as they are armed with rifles, would be able to coerce the target vessel into stopping by the use of, or threat of, force. It would not be difficult for a gang to intercept such a boat and, as they will be carrying personnel for the oil industry (who they consider to be valuable assets), they would expect the oil company to pay handsomely for their release. 

 

 Piracy Incident Report: 391

Incident: Boarding
Area:Lagos Anchorage, Nigeria 
Position: 06°17’N - 003°23’E
Date of Incident: 09/04/15
Time of Incident (LT): 0144
Information Source: : IMB

Two robbers boarded an anchored Product Tanker. The on-board Nigerian Naval personnel spotted the robbers and fired warning shots, resulting in the robbers jumping overboard to escape. A Nigerian patrol boat captured one of the robbers. All the crew are safe.

Allmode Comment: The fact that only two were involved in this attempted robbery would suggest that this was an opportunistic crime, as the usual MO for the region involves more than six persons, usually armed, who show no fear of the Nigerian Navy and will engage in a gun- battle, before making their escape. Nevertheless, preventative measures against boarding need to be employed by all vessels entering the region, even when the Nigerian Navy are present on- board. 

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Piracy Incident Report: 382

Incident: Boarding
Area: Around 36nm SE of Bonny Islands, Nigeria
Position: 04°02’N - 007°31’E
Date of Incident: 21/03/2015 Reported Late
Time of Incident (LT): 2230
Information Source: : IMB

Six pirates armed with Firearms, boarded an anchored floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO).

The pirates accessed the accommodation area, but were deterred by the sounding of the ships alarm. During the escape the pirates managed to kidnap three crew members (the Captain, Chief Engineer and Second Engineer).

Allmode Comment:

A similar attack took place in the same area at the beginning of March and it is clear that a pirate gang is targeting the oil industry and their vessels. All vessels transiting or anchoring within Nigeria TTW need to have the stringent security procedures in place. Vessels can be waiting at anchor for long periods before port clearance is approved. Pirate gangs operate undetected within OPL and regularly target vessel at anchor. MARSEC levels should be revised to account for the threat level within this region. 

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Piracy Incident Report: 368

Incident: Boarding
Area: Lagos, Nigeria
Position:Terminal 5, Apapa Port
Date of Incident:12/03/2015
Time of Incident (LT):22.54
Information Source: : IMB

A crew member on board a berthed Product Tanker, noticed two robbers hiding near the hatch cover of No.1 Cargo oil tank. He immediately informed the duty officer and alerted all crew. Aware that they had been detected, the robbers jumped overboard, disconnected their own hoses and escaped. Upon inspection, it was noticed that around five cubic metres of base oil was stolen. Agents and Port Security Officer were informed.


Allmode Comment: Oil continues to be targeted in the Gulf of Guinea and all vessels will need to continue to assess their own security arrangements. A continuous review of security measures should be carried out and all precautions taken. Ships will need to follow all advice on vessel hardening and keep a round the clock lookout to ensure early detection of any suspicious activity

Capture17 

Piracy Incident Report: 343

Incident: Boarding
Area: Berth 5&6, ENL Jetty, Lagos Harbours, Nigeria
Position: Not Given
Date of Incident: 05/02/2015
Time of Incident (LT): 0320
Information Source: IMB

Duty AB on board a berthed chemical tanker spotted a robber attempting to board the vessel. He alerted the on board security team who chased the robbers away. After a while the robbers attempted to return and the security team fired one warning shot resulting in the robbers aborting the approach.

Allmode Comment:

It is clear that in the incident the security team have not protected the vessel correctly from the outset. Robbers should not be able to access the vessel and regular patrols should help mitigate the chance of illegal access to the vessel.

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 Piracy Incident Report: 341

Incident: Attack
Area: Around 10nm SW of Escravos, Nigeria
Position: 05°28’N 005°05’E
Date of Incident: 01/02/2015
Time of Incident (LT): 1830
Information Source: : IMB

 Two crew on the forecastle of an anchored tanker noticed a boat approaching at high speed. As the boat closed the crew noticed something being thrown towards the vessel. The boat moved away and waited. After a while the two crew noticed the boat slowly approach the vessel again. The crew noticed the persons in the boat light an object and throw it towards the vessel, which hit the ships rail and fell into the water. A loud explosion was heard. The boat moved away. Nigerian navy and port authority informed. A gun boat was deployed and the vessel moved to a secure anchorage.

Allmode Comment: This incident shows the high risk vessels face operating in this area. From the report criminal gangs are showing no regard for the crew’s safety or damage that the vessel may sustain. The use of explosives is a significant change in tactics and possess a huge risk to vessels and crews operating within the region. If crews find or see explosives used against their vessel, they must not approach or tamper with the devices. Report them to the authorities and let the experts deal with the devices. Refresh you crew with the procedures from your SSP with regards to IED’s and explosives.

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Piracy Incident Report: 328

Incident Type: Attack
Area:Agbami Oil Field, Nigeria
Position:03°29’N 005°27’E  
Date of Incident: 23/01/2015
Time of Incident (LT): Unknown
Information Source: : MARLO

On 23 January, the Nigeria-flagged offshore supply vessel JASCON 24 was attacked approximately 70 nm from the Nigerian coastline, at the Agbami Oil Field. One Nigerian naval officer was reportedly killed during the attack.

Allmode Comment:
There has been little information released about the facts involved in this incident. But it is well known that criminal gangs operating within this region are often well armed and violence is commonly used. Oil continues to be targeted in the Gulf of Guinea and all vessels will need to continue to assess their own security arrangements as the use of PMC’s are not permitted to combat this real threat. A continuous review of security measures should be carried out and all precautions taken. Media sources expect piracy incidents off the Nigerian coast to escalate in the run up to the Nigerian Presidential elections in February. This puts all vessels in the region at an enhanced risk of attack.

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Piracy Incident Report: 327

Incident Type: Hijack
Area:Around 63nm SW of Bayelsa, Nigeria
Position:  03°44’N - 004°59’E
Date of Incident: 11/01/15
Time of Incident (LT): 0500 LT
Information Source: : IMB

Ten pirates armed with AK47 rifles boarded and hijacked a product tanker and took hostage all nine crew. The pirates ordered the crew to transfer the fuel oil cargo to another vessel, two pirates then departed with the pirate vessel.

The Ghanaian navy dispatched a naval vessel to investigate as the hijacked vessel as it moved into its territorial waters. The naval boarding team arrested the remaining eight pirates aboard the hijacked vessel. During the incident it has been reported that the crew were mistreated by the pirates.

Allmode Comment: Water within the GOG still poses a high risk to merchant shipping, having enhanced procedures within your SSP and maintaining 24/7 security watches can mitigate the risk of a robbery or hijack.

Discuss with your CSO and security partner, how procedures can be enhanced to assist crews facing issues within high risk areas. Crew training and regular rehearsals are the key to keeping your vessel safe.

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