Pirates in the Gulf of Guinea came up against a stronger opponent than they had anticipated after they attacked and boarded container ship MSC Lucia (IMO 8413887) in the Gulf of Guinea on Monday October 25th.
Multiple sources have reported that the attack took place. The Russian Navy has now said that it chased away the criminals. The UK-operated MDAT-GoG Piracy Reporting Centre confirmed that there had been a boarding in the middle of the Gulf of Guinea during the morning of October 25th, but did not identify the vessel involved.
MSC Lucia had called at the port of San Pedro in Cote D’Ivoire last week and transited to Lomé, Togo on October 22nd. It departed Lomé during the morning of the 24th and headed southeast across the Gulf of Guinea, en route to Douala, Cameroon, with an ETA of October 27th.
At about 09:00 GMT on the morning of the 25th, when the vessel was about 150 nm to the northwest of the island of Sao Tome, MSC Lucia slowed from 14 knots to a halt, according to AIS data.
The Russian Ministry of Defence said that its destroyer VA Kulakov received a distress signal from the MSC Lucia on Monday morning. The feeder container ship broadcast that armed attackers had approached via speedboat and had climbed aboard. The crew of the MSC Lucia had retreated to the engine room for safety. The Kulakov launched its Kumov Ka-27PS helicopter, carrying a boarding party of Russian marines.
The pirates fled the vessel as soon as they saw the approaching aircraft, the ministry said.
The Kulakov transferred a boarding party to the MSC Lucia to search the ship. As of Monday evening, the MSC Lucia remained adrift, at position 02 12 N 004 54 E.
The Russian vessel was currently in the Gulf of Guinea on a three-week deployment, accompanied by a fleet oiler and a rescue tug.
1985-built, Panama-flagged, 21,887 gt MSC Lucia is owned by NSM Lucia Shipping Co Ltd care of manager Niki Shipping Co SA of Athens, Greece. ISM manager is MSC Shipmanagement Ltd of Limassol, Cyprus. It is entered with North of England on behalf of Conglomerate Maritime Ltd.