Armed pirates attacked an anchored product tanker off Nigeria during the evening of April 15th, according to the IMB Piracy Reporting centre
Four persons armed with automatic weapons in a speed boat approached an unnamed vessel at Bonny River Inner Anchorage. Two perpetrators managed to board the tanker. They then opened fire towards the crew accommodation area.
The alarm was raised and the ship’s crew mustered in the citadel.
According to the IMB, the onboard Nigerian naval guards returned fire, causing the pirates to retreat into their boat and escape.
One guard was injured during the shooting and was given first aid by the crew.
Two security boats responded and approached the tanker. The injured person was transferred to a security boat and taken ashore for medical assistance. No injuries to the remaining crew were reported.
The attacked vessel was thought to be San Padre Pio (IMO 9610339). The Bonny Signal Station and the Nigerian Navy were notified.
2012-built, Switzerland-flagged, 5,422 gt San Padre Pio is owned by San Padre Pio Schifffahrt AG care of manager ABC Maritime AG of Nyon, Switzerland. It is entered with North of England Club on behalf of San Padre Pio Schifffahrt AG.
On April 9th a Spanish patrol boat in the area had observed chemical tanker Maria Soltin (IMO 7203699) which behaved strangely and had a small boat nearby in the Gulf of Guinea. When the Nigerian vessel did not respond to the radio, the master of the Spanish patrol boat launched two smaller RIBs to investigate the situation. As the boats approached the ship they continued to elicit no response from the ship, while observing that it was trying to flee. The ship had apparently been hijacked four days earlier by nine pirates armed with AK-47 rifles. During the calls from the Spanish patrol boat the pirates had pointed their rifles towards the captain and ordered him not to respond. However, they were frightened by the patrol boat’s persistence and fled before the patrol vessel arrived, taking with them all the money and valuables they had stolen from the 12 crew members aboard the Nigerian ship. After receiving supplies from the patrol boat, the Maria Soltin sailed to Lagos.
1972-built, Nigeria-flagged, 805 gt Maria Soltin has no disclosed owner.