Four crew members were kidnapped from a chemical tanker underway off the coast of Nigeria earlier this month.
The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre has confirmed the kidnappings, reporting that on March 5th a group of ten armed pirates in a speed boat approached and opened fire at a chemical tanker underway approximately 32 nautical miles southwest of Bonny Island, Nigeria.
The pirates were able to board the vessel with a grappling hook and ladder, the report said. An alarm was raised and all non-essential crew members retreated to the ship’s citadel. After an hour, the pirates left the tanker with four kidnapped crew, while the remaining crew members sailed the tanker to a safe port, the IMB said.
The identity of the ship has not yet been confirmed.
Nigeria continues to be a hotspot for violent acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, where gangs of armed pirates board vessels with the intention of kidnapping crew for ransom or stealing fuel oil cargo. The International Maritime Bureau received reports of 14 piracy incidents with nine boardings in 2015, although the actual numbers are believed to be higher as many go unreported.
On February 23rd, pirates kidnapped two crew members from Bourbon Offshore vessel off the coast of Nigeria.