Pirates abduct 15 seafarers from product tanker offshore Nigeria

Fifteen seafarers have been taken hostage by pirates from a Malteseflagged products tanker called ‘Davide B’ offshore Nigeria.

According to reports, the 19,800-dwt product tanker with a crew of 21 onboard was sailing from Latvia to Delta State in Nigeria when it was boarded by nine armed pirates some 220 nautical miles south of Lagos, Nigeria on 11 March at 15-12 hours UTC.

Sadly, the Nigerian territorial waters as well as the entire Gulf of Guinea region has been tagged a hotspot for piracy and sea robbery attacks following the repeated incidents of attacks recorded in recent time in the region.

Meanwhile, Nigerian government, the Navy and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency ( NIMASA) have claimed that they have been investing hundreds of millions of dollars in acquiring platforms for securing and patrolling its waters, both the efforts are yet to yield tangible results in the area of security.

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The vessel had crew of 21 comprising Ukrainian, Romanian and Philippine nationals, 15 of whom were taken hostage.

At the time of this report, the nationalities of those taken hostage by the pirates were still not known but the Davide B is managed by De Poli Shipmanagement in the Netherlands

“The area where the incident occurred has seen an increased number of incidents between the end of fourth quarter of 2020 and beginning of quarter one of 2021. During the same time, PAGS have shown an increased interest in targeting areas frequently used as linkup/break off points for security escorts sailing through the Nigerian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) or calling Nigerian ports,” Praesidium International said in an alert.

“This modus operandi corroborates the hypothesis that PAGS have a thorough understanding of local Navy and private security movements as well as commercial sailing routes within the greater Nigerian EEZ area.”

Dryad Maritime however said: “Vessels within this area are at a unique vulnerability in that they are generally operating within waters beyond the operational footprint of regional security forces. Within 2020, there were five incidents inclusive of kidnapping that occurred within 30 nautical miles of the reported incident.”

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