container ship Maersk Cadiz was boarded by pirates off West Africa on Saturday
afternoon, Maersk Line confirmed Sunday Dec 20.
While the Maersk
Cadiz was under way on a short transit from Ghana to Cameroon, she was attacked
and boarded by a gang of "criminals," Maersk said in a statement
The pirates departed the ship without kidnapping any crewmembers
The Nigerian Navy
dispatched patrol vessels to assist, and the pirates departed the ship without
kidnapping any crewmembers. All 21 seafarers aboard the ship are safe, Maersk
“We are very
concerned about the increased security risk from armed attacks on merchant
vessels in the area,” said Palle Laursen, Maersk's chief technical officer.
“The risk has reached a level where local governments and the international
community must take action to deal effectively with an unacceptable situation.”
Pirate gangs have boarded (or attempted to board) merchant vessels in
the region with regularity over the intervening weeks
consultancy Dryad Global noted that the attack is the latest in a "surge
of incidents" over the course of the past five weeks. The danger level for
the high risk area in the Gulf of Guinea has been listed "critical"
since mid-November, and pirate gangs have boarded (or attempted to board)
merchant vessels in the region with regularity over the intervening weeks.
Vessels advised to remain at least 200nm-250nm offshore where possible
advised to operate within this area at a heightened posture maintaining the
highest levels of vigilance whilst implementing full hardening /
mitigation," Dryad Global warned. "In addition the IMB advises that
vessels remain at least 200nm-250nm offshore where possible."
Western naval forces have begun to deploy their own warships to
protect shipping interests
After years of
regional efforts to contain pirate groups based in the Niger River Delta,
Western naval forces have begun to deploy their own warships to police the Gulf
of Guinea and protect shipping interests. The Italian frigate Martinengo and
the Spanish Navy patrol vessel Serviola both conducted multiple anti-piracy
interdictions in the region this year, often arriving as the first responders
and saving at least two vessels from pirate boardings.