Product tanker attacked in Gulf of Guinea, so what?
Product tanker was attacked in Gulf of Guinea in early hours of Aug 9, some 200 nm off the coast of Nigeria. Pirate mothership was drifting on tanker’s track, most probably awaiting for the tanker. Pirates attacked tanker on three small boats, trying to close and board the vessel. Tanker was fired upon, but managed to escape. It is understood, that there was no security team on board.
Security firm Dryad Maritime and Maritime Executive edition made a big fuss over the whole story, claiming that “this incident may be a game changer in Gulf of Guinea piracy”. They explained their worries by some facts – by apparently pre-panned ambush with the use of mothership, and by an attempt to board vessel in a night time. They – I mean Dryad and Maritime Executive writers, either were in a deep froze, or something, but they’re definitely well behind the reality. It’s not the first time Nigerian pirates use mothership. One must not be Einstein to figure out long time ago, that Nigerian pirates do have intelligence, and plan some of their attacks targeting chosen vessels to be intercepted far off in the Gulf. There’s nothing too much unusual in a night attack, too. Most probably, pirates were planning to attack the vessel when they intercept her, whatever the time. If it’s daytime, ok, if it’s night time, no big problem, too. Indonesian pirates, by the way, climb and board underway vessels, even VLCC and VLOC, exclusively in night time, and nobody yet supposed they underwent Special Forces training.
Shipping in Gulf of Guinea is a constant source of an aspiration for local criminals. There are coastal pirates, and so to say, ocean-going ones. While coastal pirates mostly, satisfy themselves with good old robbing, and kidnapping hostages for a ransom, ocean-going ones aim at cargoes. By now they restrict their appetite with tankers only, but there’s little doubt they can’t sleep well dreaming of hijacked container ships with their valuable cargoes (they already boast at least one such an attack). They didn’t find yet technical solutions as to how to rob cargo vessels other than tankers, but they’re surely in a creative mood, trying to find ways and means.
As to security, there’s only one way to guarantee safety from piracy, and everybody knows the name of it – armed guards. If today all vessels trading the Gulf would have armed guards on board, by New Year the piracy in the region would be non-existent, like it happened in Indian ocean.
Container ship attack in Gulf of Guinea: