NIGERIA – Tanker attacked and crew kidnapped 232NM South of Lagos – July 17th, 2020
EVENT DESCRIPTION // On July 17th, at 1100 UTC, approximately 232NM SW of Lagos, a tanker was approached and successfully boarded by 8 heavily armed men who approached the tanker onboard a single speedboat.
According to initial reports up to 15 crew members, likely Russians and Ukrainians, could have been kidnapped as a result of the attack.
Update 18-07-2020: The tanker management company Alison Management Corp. with a press release informed that 13 out of 19 Ukrainian and Russian crew members have been taken hostage. The MV Frio Chikuma, owned by Laskaridis family interests, was sent to provide assistance to the under-manned tanker.
ANALYSIS & ADDITIONAL INFORMATION // According to initial investigations the vessel involved in the incident could possibly be the Liberia-flagged tanker CURACAO TRADER (IMO: 9340908) (vessel name was later confirmed).
The tanker had left Lomé and was sailing on a SE course at around 11 knots when her speed dropped to 3 knots and AIS stopped transmitting. Four hours later AIS was turned back on with the vessel located some 30NM SW from the attack position.
No further information is currently available on the attack dynamics, nevertheless, in consideration of the prevailing sea conditions of these days and the distance from shore it is possible that a support vessel was used to perpetrate the attack.
This is the last of a series of piracy incidents that have interested the SW extremity of the Nigerian EEZ confirming a trend that sees PAG operating deeper offshore on the routes that lead to the Eastern and Western Nigerian ports at distances where still these are en route to the various rendezvous points with the security escort vessels. Proper planning and preparation are becoming increasingly important to address this new scenario.