Sixteen mariners kidnapped off West Africa in five days, says Dryad

There have been 16 ship crew kidnapped by pirates off the coast of West Africa in the past week, according to Dryad.

On April 30th it was reported that 10 seamen had been kidnapped in an attack on oil products tanker Vemahope (IMO 9477751), about 178nm south-southeast of Lagos. The Vemahope was attacked by a single speedboat with an unknown number of armed individuals on board. Four crew members were left onboard after the kidnappings. Dryad said that, if confirmed, this incident would be the seventh deep offshore incident within the Nigerian EEZ this year.

Total incidents in West Africa in 2020 have been tracking the trend in 2019.

On May 3rd pirates boarded two fishing trawlers, identified as the Amerger II & Amerger VII off Libreville, Gabon. One incident occurred 20nm from shore and the second 36nm from shore.

“Reports suggest that the incident involved a single skiff with three engines and 13 persons on board,” Dryad said, adding that the perpetrators, who were speaking English as language of choice, were likely to be from Nigeria, where the kidnapping of crew has been seen as an extension of the existing problem of oil-industry-related kidnapping in the Nigerian Delta.

The six seamen kidnapped from the trawlers, three from each vessel were understood to consist of three Indonesians, two Senegalese and one South Korean.

There have been a total of 48 crew kidnapped off West Africa this year.

2009-built, Panama-flagged, 4,568 gt Vemahope is owned by Rachel Maritime SA care of manager Queensway Navigation Co of Athens, Greece. It is entered with Gard P&I Club on behalf of Rachel Maritime SA.