gCaptain sources report this afternoon that the M/V Liberty Grace, 50,601 dwt US-flagged bulk carrier vessel with 22 personnel on board, including two U.S. Merchant Marine Academy cadets, was attacked offshore Togo at 0150Z yesterday morning.
Three skiffs approached the vessel on two separate occasions, but according to our source, were “fought” off with fire hoses. Nobody was hurt in the attack and the vessel continued on in accordance with its planned schedule.
According to AIS data, the vessel is currently in Lome, Togo.
According to a report by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB)
“The Duty Officer directed the ship search light towards the skiff, raised the alarm, activated the fire hoses and called the Togo navy. It was observed that the robbers, with hoods pulled over their heads, were attempting to board the vessel using a pole and hook. Three flares were fired in the direction of the skiff. Seeing the crew alertness the robbers aborted the attempt and moved away.”
Kidnappings of sailors on merchant ships in waters off Nigeria and nearby countries surged in the first half as pirates attacked a broader range of vessels and sought targets farther out at sea.
Pirates operating in the Gulf of Guinea kidnapped 30 crew in the period, compared with three seized worldwide in 2012’s first six months, the IMB said in a report earlier this week. Attackers previously tended to seek out ships involved in the regional oil industry and now are targeting container ships and other merchant vessels, it said.