Channel 16 report, 31 December 2019
Our friends and colleagues at Dryad Global are reporting the M/T HAPPY LADY, that while at anchor at the Limboh Terminal Anchorage, Cameroon, came under attack and was boarded by pirates. It is reported that 8 crew have been kidnapped from the vessel with one individual believed to have been wounded in the incident.
As of 31 December 2019 details remain unclear, yet Dryad Global assesses that within this incident 5 Greek nationals, 2 Filipino and 1 Ukranian have been kidnapped. This incident is the latest kidnapping incident within the Gulf of Guinea since the kidnap of 2 personnel from a container vessel RENOVATION at the Douala anchorage on 22nd Dec 19.
This incident demonstrates another incident in the recent escaltion of maritime incidents throughout December 2019, bringing the total number of kidnapped crew members within the Gulf of Guinea in December up to 57. The rapid increase in incidents is believed to be perpetuated in part by a confluence of factors including favorable conditions and reinforced successes. Lengthy turn around times at terminal locations present considerable security challenges for vessels seeking to reduce exposure to the risk of incident. In addition to this, a lack of coherent and coordinated security response means that pirates are able to operate between national maritime boundaries without restriction.
It is assessed that there are multiple pirate groups operating throughout the region, with a high degree of efficiency and confidence. This latest incident was 144nm east from an attack on a container vessel south of Bonny on the 30 December 2019 during which the attack failed as a result of an embarked security team. While a significant distance away, it is a realistic possibility that the latest attack was conducted by the same pirate group seeking to target vessels operating in an area with less security infrastructure and subsequently increased opportunity.