This is the 24th confirmed kidnapping incident in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea within 2020 with 122 crew kidnapped from vessels.
This incident occurred in Ghanaian waters, 5 nm from the Western edge of the Gulf of Guinea HRA. The vessel is understood to have a crew of 23 personnel including Russian, Romanian, and Filipino nationals.
AIS data showed the vessel changed direction to the starboard at the time of the incident and dramatically reduced speed, conducting evasive manoeuvres to avoid boarding. The vessel is now reportedly safe, while local authorities have been notified.
An increasing trend of vessel attacks and crew kidnappings in the region has raised the Gulf of Guinea HRA to a critical risk rating.
Last week, pirates attacked the general cargo vessel MILAN in the Gulf of Guinea, about 14nm NNM of the Pennington Terminal, kidnapping 10 crewmembers. This follows another incident on November 17, when three crew aboard a bunkering vessel were kidnapped, some 22nm north-east of the MV AGISILAOS incident.
While the design of this vessel does not signal any overarching vulnerabilities, this incident highlights the desperation of perpetrators in the region. Counter-piracy operations and logistical strains mean larger vessels may be targeted should attacks targeting smaller vessels with vulnerable characteristics be unsuccessful. Further attacks on vessels underway are highly likely, and vessels are advised to exercise heightened caution within and on approach to the Gulf of Guinea HRA,
…Dryad Global advised.