West Africa Piracy Report (August 19 – September 1, 2013)September 2, 2013 in Africa, Piracy
- None reported during this time period.
- 27 August 2013 – Pirates in two boats approached a Cameroon-flagged passenger Ro-Ro, the Brenda Corlett, at 0830 LT near Parrot Island, Calabar, Nigeria. A Nigerian Navy gunboat was escorting the vessel following a tip off from local fishermen that pirate boats were in the vicinity. The Nigerian Navy’s gunboat gave chase, resulting in one boat escaping into the nearby creeks, however the other boat was stalled. On approaching the boat, seven pirates fired their AK-47’s at the gunboat, resulting in an exchange of gunfire with four pirates reportedly killed. One of the pirates was detained.
- 13 June 2013 (Late Report) – While underway, two speed boats with fourteen pirates on board armed with pistols and AK-47 rifles attacked a tug a t 0315 LT, approximately 30 nautical miles south of Kwa Ibo, Nigeria. Eight pirates boarded the tug, captured four crew members, stole their personal belongings and took them ashore. On 21 June 2013, the four kidnapped crew members were safely released. It is believed that a ransom payment was made for their safe release.
Gulf of Guinea – Southerly winds of 10 – 15 knots and seas of 4 – 6 feet. Extended Forecast – Southwest winds of 10 – 15 knots and seas of 4 – 6 feet.
Synoptic Discussion – The Gulf of Guinea is under the influence of high and low pressure systems, bringing strong southerly winds and moisture into the area. Expect mostly cloudy conditions with rain showers and possible thunderstorms.
- 28 August 2013 – On Wednesday, the European Union announced that it was preparing to increase security efforts in the Gulf of Guinea as the West African maritime region has developed into the new global piracy hotspot. Speaking at a maritime security conference in Nigeria’s economic capital, German Rear Admiral Jurgen Ehle, who heads an EU military working group for West Africa, indicated that the new measures, which will likely be announced in October, will not include sending warships to the region, a move that helped reduce pirate attacks in the East African region. Instead, the EU’s efforts will focus on helping to improve coordination between regional navies, training and other measures, rather than deploying forces. In essence, “the main part of the strategy…is less to send ships,” specifying that the focus will be on “military advice” and civilian programmes to curb poverty, which if fueling much of the unrest. Over the past year, the number of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea have dramatically risen and have overtaken the number of attacks off the coast of Somalia, which has seen a sharp decline that has been attributed to international navies patrolling the waters coupled with greater vigilance by vessels transiting the region, in which many now have armed security teams on board. In 2010, the Gulf of Guinea saw 39 attacks, the numbers however have increased over the past two years, with 53 attacks occurring in 2011 and 63 in 2012. Many of the attacks that have occurred in the area have seen tankers hijacked with the aim of stealing fuel cargo for sale on the black market. Other instances have occurred of Nigeria’s oil-producing southern coast, where industry vessels have been raided, sometimes with expatriate workers kidnapped for ransom.
- Meanwhile Nigeria’s Navy has killed six pirates and injured one other in the latest attack to stop the outlaws from expanding their territory in the Gulf of Guinea. According to Delta state navy spokesman Lt. Delightsome Yohana, the pirates engaged the navy in a gun battle off the coast of Calabar in Nigerian and Cameroonian waters late on Sunday. Nigeria’s navy fired back, killing the six pirates while the other attacker is in custody. The operation is the latest in a string of victories for the Nigerian navy that has amped up its presence offshore and bolstered it with support from its air forces. According to Yohana, in the last two weeks, the navy has killed eighteen pirates and arrested another five.
- 19 August 2013 – On Monday, the Nigerian Navy confirmed that its soldiers killed twelve pirates in a gun battle as they attempted to flee from a fuel tanker that they hijacked off the coast of the Gulf of Guinea last week. According to Navy Flag Officer Rear Admiral Sidi-Ali Hassan, pirates hijacked the St. Kitts and Nevis-flagged MT Notre on August 15, but an emergency signal was sent to then navy, which resulted in several gunships being deployed in order to recover the vessel. The navy’s gunships caught up with the vessel and forced it into Nigerian waters but while negotiating the vessel’s release, the pirates attempted to escape on a speed boat. Although the navy boats pursued the pirates, they were fired upon. Sidi-Ali Hussan has indicated that “the gun battle last about 30 minutes after which they were overpowered. On taking over the speed boat, four of the militants were alive and unhurt while the rest of the pirates were killed in the crossfire.” The crew of the MT Notre, which was carrying 17,000 metric tonnes of gasoline at the time of the hijacking, were all rescued unharmed.