Product Tanker Survives Two Boardings in Less Than 24-Hours off Africa
Reports of piracy incidents continue to come in at an alarming rate from the Gulf of Guinea with at least three vessels approached in four incidents over the weekend. However, the crew of one Malta-flagged product tanker, the New Ranger, survived two boardings in less than 24-hours.
The security services are reporting that the 12,950 DWT tanker New Ranger departed Lome, Togo bounded for Cameroon on December 4. The vessel regularly operates in the area and is no stranger to the local dangers having been boarded previously in 2011 and 2015 according to multiple sources.
Early on the morning on December 5, approximately 200 nautical miles south of Lagos, the tanker was approached with some reports of shots fired by the perpetrators. Praesidium reports that the vessel started altering its course sailing in circles. An unknown number of people however successfully boarded the vessel while the crew retreated to the citadel onboard. Approximately two hours after the incident had begun the vessel was back underway and the crew was reported safe.
Dryad Global reported that it was the 67th incident in the region this year. They speculated that with three prior attacks also having been unsuccessful that week that the perpetrators are likely becoming more desperate.
Less than 24 hours later, now approximately 100 miles south of Brass in Cameroon, the New Ranger was approached for a second time. In this incident, at least four were able to board the tanker and again the crew retreated to the citadel. The vessel had reportedly traveled about 180 nautical miles between the two attacks.
As with the first boarding, the preparators were unsuccessful and left the vessel. AIS data is indicating the vessel is now at the anchorage at the terminal in Cameroon.
Dryad cautioned vessel operators with particularly vulnerable designs to take extra precautions and that all vessels are advised to operate within this area at a heightened posture, maintaining the highest levels of vigilance whilst implementing full hardening and mitigation. Weather conditions in the region have been favorable for piracy activity in the region, prompting the authorities to advise vessels to remain at least 200 nautical miles offshore when possible.