Ships drop anchor around Gabon after coup shuts down the country

At least 30 commercial ships had dropped anchor on Wednesday August 30th around the waters of Gabon after military officers said that they had annulled the results of an election at the weekend and had seized power in the country, on the West African coast to the south of Cameroon and west of Congo.

Military officers in Gabon, which produces oil, said that President Ali Bongo – in power since succeeding his father – was under house arrest. The coup was announced after the country’s election body announced that he had won a third term. Borders were closed and state institutions were dissolved.

There had already been a build-up of vessels as the week progressed.

The vessels included commercial cargo ships as well as tankers. They had stopped near to the country’s major ports, which include Owendo near the capital Libreville, and Port Gentil, which is further south.

UK-based maritime security company Ambrey said that port operations in Libreville had stopped, with no vessels entering or departing port since the coup was announced.