On Friday, an oil tanker was hijacked by a dozen or so pirates about 80 miles south of Togo while the ship was standing by to transfer its cargo to another ship. While at gun point, the pirates mustered the crew on the bridge to await the arrival of a barge to come alongside and steal the ship’s cargo.
When the barge arrived, the crew were forced to prepare the fenders for the barge and upon completion of the transfer, the pirates locked the crew in the masters cabin and then ransacked the ship for all the possible valuables they could get their hands on.
Piracy in West Africa has remained a much different “animal” from East Africa. Although aggressive and heavily armed, West African pirates do not seem to seek out hostage-taking scenarios like Somali pirates, but rather steal from soft targets in a quick-in, quick-out, or in this case, slow-out, scenario.