There could be a danger that the zone of activity for pirates in the Gulf of Guinea is spreading further, if reports of a possible approach by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea off Ghana are substantiated. The location cited would be a new area of the Gulf of Guinea for pirates.
The Maritime Awareness Centre reported an approach by a small vessel some 74nm southeast of Takoradi. The vessel believed to have been targeted was the tanker Hafnia Phoenix (IMO 9461702), a seven-year-old Danish flagged tanker. The nearly 600ft vessel was sailing from Lome, Togo to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Dryad reported that there had been no previous incidents of vessels boarded or kidnappings within this area, although there have been several incidents in the waters off Ghana creating additional warnings for mariners operating in the region.
A speedboat believed to be carrying eight people approached the tanker. Apparently there was a ladder in the small boat. The tanker increased speed and took evasive action, and was able to leave the area without further incident.
Dryad had reported a similar incident in the area three weeks previously. Marshall Island-flagged oil tanker Pike was about 114nm southeast of Tema, Ghana when a small boat approached and attempted a boarding with a ladder. On this occasion there were a reported six to eight people on the small boat. The tanker in this case was also successful in taking evasive action.
As of September 24th the vessel was en route from Sarroch to Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
2013-built, Denmark-flagged, 30,312 gt Hafnia Phoenix is owned by Hafnia Tankers AS and managed by Hafnia Management AS, of Hellerup, Denmark. ISM manager is Wallen GmbH & Co of Hamburg, Germany.