Pirates off the coast of Nigeria have abducted three crew members from a dredger after a deadly exchange of gunfire with the ship’s embarked security team, maritime risk firm Dryad Global reports.
According to Dryad, the attack occurred January 2nd against the Nigerian-flagged hopper dredger Ambika located approximately 3 nautical miles from the Ramos River, near the Forcados oil terminal.
Reports indicate that pirates engaged in a heavy firefight with embarked security personnel before boarding the vessel. As a result, it is reported that four armed military personnel have been killed and two others injured.
Three of the dredger’s eight crew members have been reported abducted, Dryad states.
Dryad says the attack marks the first offshore incident near the mouth of the Ramos River since November 2018 when a vessel was fired upon.
In December, the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre raised concerns over what it said was an unprecedented level of crew kidnappings in the Gulf of Guinea region, and advised ships to be extra vigilant when transiting through the region.
The IMB said recent incidents, in which a combined 39 seafarers were kidnapped, underscore the serious escalation in the kidnapping of seafarers for ransom in the Gulf of Guinea.
“Our main concern is for the safety of the crew and the quick and safe return of the kidnapped seafarers,” said IMB Assistant Director Cyrus Mody.
“IMB calls for more support from coastal countries in the Region, to provide a meaningful response, including, investigating the gangs who carry out the kidnappings and ultimately holding them to account under law,” Mody added.