Weekly Piracy Update: Missing in West Africa

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May 3, 2012

Summary of Incidents by Region: APR 26 – MAY 2


RED SEA: Bulk Carrier was approached while underway on 29 April at 13:16 N – 042:55 E, Bab El Mandeb Straits, Red Sea. Four skiffs approached the bulk carrier underway at 20 knots. The ship raised alarm and sounded the ship’s horn; all non-essential crewmembers mustered in the citadel. All four skiffs stopped their approach at 1.5nm away. Two of the four skiffs made another attempt to approach the ship two minutes later. They stopped their approach at 1nm when they saw the armed security team onboard. Six of the eight pirates were armed and carrying guns. (IMB)


DEM. REP. CONGO: Container Vessel was boarded while anchored on 27 April at 05:51 S – 013:24 E, around 4.5nm from Port of Matadi, Democratic Republic of Congo. Four boats with seven pirates armed with knives approached and boarded the vessel. The crew noticed the pirates and raised the alarm. They also contacted the local port authorities. The pirates later escaped with stolen ship cargo. The crew is safe. (IMB)

TOGO: Oil Tanker was approached while anchored on 25 April at 06:02 N – 001:15 E, 6nm SW of Lome, Togo. Two boats with eight pirates in each approached the anchored oil tanker, one from the forward and the other from aft. The crew raised the alarm and spotlights were directed towards the boats. The ships master informed Togo Navy officials and the crew was able to deter the pirates. The boats were seen leaving the immediate area. Later that day, the crew noticed the boats approaching again but they were again able to deter the attempted attack. (IMB)

TOGO: Product Tanker was hijacked while anchored on 30 April at 06:01 N – 001:20 E, Lome Anchorage, Togo. The owners of a product tanker anchored off Lome received a phone call from the Master who appeared to be under duress. The owners believe the vessel may have been hijacked. There are 24 crew members onboard the vessel. The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre has contacted the local authorities and requested assistance in locating the missing vessel. (IMB)


EGYPT: Bulk Carrier boarded on 30 April while anchored at 31:12 N – 029:45 E, El Dekheila Anchorage, Egypt. Six pirates armed with knives boarded an anchored bulk carrier.  D/O raised the alarm and three crewmembers rushed forward to try and stop the robbery. The robbers threatened the crewmembers with knives and they retreated and armed themselves with iron rods and confronted the pirates with the other crew. The pirates escaped with the stolen crewmembers property and ship’s stores in their boats after seeing the armed crewmembers. Port control was contacted but they received no response. (IMB)


GULF OF ADEN: Tanker was approached while underway on 26 April at 11:56 N – 044:39 E, 19nm from “A” IRTC, Gulf of Aden. Four skiffs manned with four pirates armed with AK 47 rifles chased the tanker. All non essential crew mustered in the citadel. The onboard armed security team fired warning shots resulting in the pirate attack being aborted. (IMB)


Pirate Skiff Capability (Graphic courtesy of the Naval Oceanographic Office Warfighting Support Center)

GULF OF ADEN: East-northeast winds of 10 – 15 knots with seas of 2 – 4 feet. EXTENDED FORECAST: Expect east-northeasterly winds of 8 – 12 knots with seas of 2 – 4 feet.

SOMALI COAST: The spring transitional season continues to influence conditions in the Indian Ocean and Somali Basin. Expect east-southeasterly winds of 5 – 10 knots and seas of 3 – 5 feet. EXTENDED FORECAST: Expect south-southwesterly winds of 8 – 12 knots, becoming southerly at 10 – 15 knots, by 07 May, with seas of 3 – 5 feet.

ARABIAN SEA: West-southwesterly winds of 8 – 14 knots and seas 2 – 4 feet. EXTENDED FORECAST: West-southwesterly winds 12 – 18 knots and seas of 3 – 5 feet, occasionally increasing to 5 – 7 feet in the northwest section of the Arabian Sea.

CENTRAL AFRICAN COAST/INDIAN OCEAN: Rain showers and thunderstorms will continue along the Tanzania and Kenyan coasts, due to the influence of the Great Rift Trough. Expect south-southwesterly winds of 10 – 15 knots and seas of 5 – 7 feet. EXTENDED FORECAST: Southerly winds of 20 – 25 knots and seas of 8 – 10 feet by 5 May.

This report is brought to you by the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence Maritime OPINTEL Report

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