Six crew members of a container ship have been kidnapped in a pirate attack off the coast of Bioko Island in the Gulf of Guinea.
Maritime security firm Dryad Global said reports indicate that a container ship was attacked approximately 48 nautical miles southwest of Luba, located on Bioko Island in Equatorial Guinea, at location 03 11 N -007 49 E. Early reports indicate that six have been the crew members kidnapped, according to the report.
A report from the Danish Navy, which has a warship conducting anti-piracy patrols in international waters in the Gulf of Guinea, shed some more light on the incident.
According to the Navy, a Seahawk helicopter embarked on the frigate Esbern Snare was investigating an active pirate group operating in the vicinity of Bioko Island when it received a distress signal from a nearby container ship.
Upon inspection, the helicopter crew spotted a smaller skiff on the side of the ship with several suspected pirates and hostages. The suspected pirates apparently threw objects overboard, in an apparent attempt to sail faster, and headed north into the Niger Delta with the hostages on board. The helicopter crew followed the skiff until it entered Nigerian national waters before returning to the frigate.
The Navy said one crew member has suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and two are missing following the accident, however a Navy spokesman told the media that there were six hostages.
Although the identity of the containership has not been disclosed in either report, other information points to it being the Liberian-registered M/V Tonsberg.
The ICC’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said in October that the number of piracy and armed robbery incidents in the Gulf of Guinea region fell to 28 incidents through the first nine months of this year, down from 46 in the same period in 2020. Most notably, only four incidents have been recorded off Nigeria through September, compared to 17 in 2020 and 41 in 2018.
Dryad noted that this latest attack occurred about 32 nautical miles northwest of where an offshore supply vessel was attacked in October. Three people were kidnapped in that incident.