Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Singapore-owned tanker hijacked in Lagos

have hijacked a
Singapore-owned oil
tanker in Nigerian
waters, the third attack
in just over two weeks
in the Gulf of Guinea,
the International
Maritime Bureau said
The group said the
tanker was seized
within the port of
Lagos, but Nigerian
authorities insisted the
attack happened
farther offshore.
The vessel, which had
23 crew on board, was
laden with fuel, IMB’s
Kuala Lumpur-based
piracy reporting centre
said, adding that the
pirates were sailing the
ship into the open sea.
It did not say how the
pirates hijacked the
tanker on Tuesday
“We have informed the
Nigerian authorities
who are taking action,”
Noel Choong, head of
the IMB’s Malaysia-
based piracy reporting
centre, told AFP.
The crew members had
locked themselves in a
safe room, said
Choong, who added:
“We are concerned
about their safety and
the spate of
Nigeria’s navy
Commodore Kabir
Aliyu, identified the
tanker as the Abu
Dhabi Star.
“The vessel was
hijacked last night off
the coast of Nigeria.
We are trying to get
the details of the
seizure but everything
is being done to ensure
the safety of the crew,”
he told AFP.
A tracking device
placed the tanker 31.4
nautical miles (60
kilometres, 35 miles)
away from the Lagos
port at roughly 1100
GMT on Wednesday
and the navy had
launched an operation
to reclaim the vessel,
Aliyu said, declining to
give further details.
The Nigeria Ports
Authority (NPA) denied
that the vessel had
been hijacked within
the Lagos port
“There has been no
hijacking of vessels in
the Lagos ports. In fact,
it cannot happen and it
has never happened. If
there was any seizure
it would be on the high
sea,” NPA spokesman
Michael Ajayi told AFP.
Ships have previously
been attacked while
moored near the port
as they wait to dock.
Pirates hijacked and
looted two oil tankers
off nearby Togo last
month. The two ships
and all crew members
were later freed.
The IMB’s Choong said
the same criminal
syndicate could be
behind the latest
attack since the modus
operandi was the
“They would seize the
ship for about five days
— ransack the crew’s
cabin and syphon the
oil to another pirate
vessel,” he said.
The IMB has repeatedly
warned ships plying
the Gulf of Guinea off
the west coast of Africa
to be vigilant and
called on authorities to
step up patrols, saying
last year the region
was emerging as a
new piracy “hot spot”.
The area has seen 37
attacks, including
several hijackings,
kidnappings and
killings, so far this year.
Pirates usually target
cargo, loading it onto
other ships to sell on
the black market.
Cyrus Mody of IMB,
who closely tracks the
region, said pirate
attacks in the Gulf of
Guinea have long gone
under-reported and
that the area had likely
seen more violence
than recent figures
As a result, some
companies working in
the region may not
have been fully
prepared for the risks
Nigeria and nearby
Benin launched joint
patrols last year in a
bid to combat the

No comments:

Post a Comment