Sea Shepherd deters piracy attack in the Gulf of Guinea

Ocean conservation movement Sea Shepherd has warded off a pirate attack in the Gulf of Guinea off West Africa. The crew mustered in the ship’s citadel while armed Beninese Navy sailors on board the Bob Barker deterred the pirates, who retreated. Dryad Global reports piracy is on the rise in the area with 6 attacks over the past 6 days.

The Netherlands flagged Bob Barker was approached by pirates on the 9th of November at 7:30am local time. The vessel is presently campaigning against illegal fishing in the Gulf of Guinea in cooperation with the government of Benin. The ship was approached by a skiff carrying approximately seven to eight persons, some who were armed.

Over the past years, the Gulf of Guinea has seen an increase in acts of piracy. Sea Shepherd says it has security measures in place to address this threat while working to protect marine wildlife together with partner countries. In a statement, the organisation says ‘the emergency preparedness of Bob Barker crew and the professionalism of the Benin Navy kept the ship and all of its crew safe. Sea Shepherd is committed to continuing our work of partnering with governments to stop illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.’

Epicentre of piracy

According to maritime security company Dryad Global West Africa currently is the global epicentre of maritime piracy. The organisation monitors pirate attacks in the area and has reported 6 attacks over the past 6 days. It says the ‘risk profile for the wider Gulf of Guinea region at this time is CRITICAL with attacks assessed as highly likely / expected daily.’

On 4 November, 10,000-DWT product tanker Nafeli II, operated by the World Carrier Corp. of Greece, was boarded off the coast of Nigeria, approximately 94 nautical miles southwest of the port of Brass. After that, oil/chemical tanker Torm Alexandra was boarded and the M/T Wesley was also approached.

On 9 November, the Marshall Island flagged M/T La Boheme was attacked by 2 skiffs, the crew mustered in citadel whilst master and bridge team carried out evasive manoeuvring. The skiffs have aborted the attack. Vessel and crew are reported safe.

Today, 11 November, Dryad reports the Marshall Island flagged M/T Jane was attacked by armed persons aboard a single skiff 70 nm South East Cotonou. The attack on the vessel was aborted, and the crew have been reported safe.

Picture by Saberwyn.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.