14 crew kidnapped from heavy load carrier Zhen Hua 7

Fourteen crew members of the heavy load carrier Zhen Hua 7 have been kidnapped by pirates while sailing in the Gulf of Guinea, reports maritime security adviser Dryad Global. This is the eighth offshore incident in just nine days. 

Reporting indicates that the Liberian flagged heavy load carrier has been boarded while drifting 78 nautical miles northwest of Sao Tome, resulting in the kidnap of fourteen of the 27 crew members. It is understood that the fourteen kidnapped crew members are Chinese nationals.

Following the incident, the vessel is currently inbound for Sao Tome, escorted by the Italian Naval vessel Frederico Martiningo.

With the confirmation of the latest kidnapping, there is a potential that the rate of incidents will decline in the short term. However, it is not confirmed that the activity over the past nine days was carried out by a single Pirate Action Group (PAG), and therefore, the risk profile for all vessels operating within the region remains at “critical”, with attacks assessed as highly likely and expected daily.

This incident is the 21st kidnapping within the Gulf of Guinea within 2020 and the total number of crews kidnapped from vessels throughout the area in 2020 is 110.

This article first appeared on Project Cargo Journal, which is another publication of SWZ|Maritime’s publishing partner Promedia. Picture by PCJ / Eldmarc Maritime Services.

Author: Tobias Pieffers