Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Unidentified individuals board tanker off Ivory Coast, Singapore reports


A Singapore-registered oil tanker has been boarded by unknown individuals in the Gulf of Guinea, approximately 300 nautical miles off Ivory Coast. The tanker, named Success 9, had a crew of 20 members from various nationalities, including one Singaporean. The vessel had been operating in the West African zone for the past 60 days, carrying diesel as its last shipping fixture record showed, according to Vortexa data. The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) stated that it was working closely with the ship owner, Monrovian maritime rescue officials, and the Changi command and control centre to monitor the situation and provide assistance. However, no further details were given regarding the incident, such as the nationalities of the remaining crew members.

The Gulf of Guinea has been known as a hotspot for global piracy for many years. Insurance firm Beazley even offers a bespoke insurance plan called “Gulf of Guinea Piracy Plus” for maritime crew travelling through the area. The maritime zone covers an area of 11,000 square kilometres and stretches from Angola to Senegal. However, piracy incidents have decreased since 2021 as national authorities have stepped up security efforts, aided by foreign naval ships, according to the United Nations.

An Ivorian security source involved in the matter stated that a patrol boat sent out to rescue the tanker had been unable to locate it as its beacon had been turned off. The source also added that they believed it was an act of piracy due to the modus operandi being similar to previous incidents. They further stated that external help had been sought from Spain and Europe.

Hai Soon Group, a Singapore-registered company that owns the tanker, declined to comment immediately, stating that they awaited further updates regarding the situation. The incident follows another piracy attack last month when pirates hijacked a Danish-owned ship off the Republic of Congo and kidnapped some of the crew before abandoning the vessel.

In conclusion, the piracy incident in the Gulf of Guinea highlights the ongoing security challenges faced by vessels operating in the region. Despite efforts by national authorities and foreign naval ships to combat piracy, incidents still occur, posing a threat to crew members and vessels. It is essential for companies operating in the area to implement robust security measures and ensure the safety of their crew members.

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