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The Italian Navy chased off a group of pirates attempting to the attack a tanker this week in international waters off Benin in the Gulf of Guinea.
The incident took place November 7 when pirates in a speed boat chased the tanker Torm Alexandra. A helicopter crew from the nearby Italian Navy frigate Martinengo was launched and upon arriving on scene found a pirate skiff with what looks to be about 5 or 6 armed pirates on board.
From video released by Italian navy, it appears the pirates were chased away when the Italian navy fired warning shots towards the vessel (skip to 25-second mark in the video below). A navy team then boarded the Torm Alexandra to confirm no pirates were on board as the crew hid in the ship’s citadel. No injuries to the crew were reported.
L’intervento di #naveMartinengo nel #GolfodiGuinea in soccorso al mercantile Torm Alexandra attaccato dai pirati. Un’importante azione per la sicurezza dei traffici marittimi nell’area. #NoiSiamolaMarina
? https://t.co/E3Hq5DIYR3 pic.twitter.com/77ZauGAs9b
— Marina Militare (@ItalianNavy) November 9, 2020
Shockingly, the incident was just one of three reported in the area in the last few days. The International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre reported this attack and two others in the Live Piracy Report. Thankfully no seafarers were kidnapped in these cases:
Over the last several years, the Gulf of Guinea and particularly the waters off Nigeria have emerged as a hotspot for crew kidnappings. According to the IMB’s latest piracy report, the number of seafarers kidnapped by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea this year has surged as pirates abduct bigger groups of seafarers further offshore.
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