Open-ocean piracy emerges off Nigeria   Leave a comment

Open-ocean attacks could be a ‘game-changer’ in Gulf of Guinea piracy, according to a recent Dryad Maritime report.

In the early hours of 9 August, a product tanker transiting immediately beyond Nigeria’s territorial waters was heavily fired upon by up to three smaller vessels.The pirates then attempted unsuccessfully to board the vessel. Dryad Maritime COO Ian Millen warned that the attack could signal a change in pirates’ tactics.”It is feasible that an intelligence-led operation was mounted against this vessel,” he said. “It would be easy to characterise this event as just another statistic in the story of Gulf of Guinea maritime crime, but to do so would be missing one very significant point: the open-ocean nature.

The attempted boarding of a vessel at night and this far out in open seas is a tactic more usually associated with highly motivated Somali pirates – and only then on a small number of occasions.”Dryad Maritime, which has issued an advisory to ship operators transiting the area, said the incident could herald a change in pirate capability that would be difficult for regional forces to handle.”This could be a real game-changer for this specific type of crime if repeated, one that would match the strategic shock earlier in the year when the tanker MT Kerala was snatched from an anchorage off Angola,” said Millen.While there have been similar attacks on vessels off the Niger Delta up to 160nm out, these have largely been crew kidnap incidents. Further details of the attack are yet to be analysed.

ihsmaritime360.com

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Posted August 16, 2014 by rrts in -NEWS

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