Two separate incidents were reported by experts in maritime risk and global security, Dryad Global on 17th October, 2020
Reporting indicates that the LNG tanker METHANE PRINCESS (IMO9253715) was boarded whilst at anchor off Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
The vessel was attacked shortly after breaking off loading operations. The alarm was sounded and all on deck were able to retreat to the citadel. Two Filipino nationals were on the jetty and both were taken hostage. One of the hostages, jumped off of the pirate vessel and was rescued but sustained injuries. One person entering the citadel was also injured. Total of one hostage taken.
No shots were fired. The Equatorial Guinea Navy was on the scene within 35-40 minutes, a Navy patrol vessel arrived in 45 minutes and the Wele- Nzas frigate arrived within the hour.
Navy and Ministry personnel are conducting post-event inquiries.
The tanker departed on time and is en-route to its next port. The direction that the pirate vessel took remains unverified.
This latest incident is understood to be the 20th recorded kidnapping event in the Gulf of Guinea within 2020.
Also on the 17th October, the Oil/Chemical tanker M/T PTI Nile (IMO: 9747338) was boarded approximately 115 Nm South of Lomé.
Reports state that the crew all managed to retreat into the citadel and are all accounted for.
The vessel remains stationary in the position of the alleged incident 115nm South Lomé with a Togolese patrol vessel on site.
The Hong Kong flagged M/T PTI NILE was conducting a northerly transit inbound Lomé when she was attacked. Reporting indicates that the vessel was boarded. The vessel can be seen to be in transit north with the M/T MAERSK NAVIGATOR 4.6nm to her West on a parallel routing. The M/T NILE appears to conduct evasive manoeuvres to her starboard side initially before coming to a halt.
Whilst precise details regarding the nature of the attack and the welfare of the crew remain unclear, this incident is the second incident within 24hrs within the wider Gulf of Guinea area following a month’s hiatus of serious offshore incidents.
Incidents of offshore kidnap are currently tracking below the 2019 rate for this time of year.