Tanker reported as possible kidnap is safe; had turned off its own AIS

Reports which indicated that tanker Errina (IMO 9802061) had likely been hi-jacked in the Gulf of Guinea on October 20th after triggering its Ship Security Alert System (SSAS) on October 20th and then going “dark” on its AIS, have turned out to be a false alarm.

In the days after the suspected kidnapping, Dryad Global reported that the SSAS signal placed the tanker approximately 200nm west of Sao Tome, an island that would have been south and west of the vessel’s normal area of operation in west Africa. Later reports said that ship’s position was now south of Lagos, Nigeria.

Dryad reported that the vessel recorded its departure from Cameroon’s Limboh anchorage, heading in a southwest direction.

Dryad said that, after analyzing the situation, it believed that the vessel was approached and boarded, but that the crew retreated into the citadel. Later reports indicated that the entire crew was safe and accounted for aboard the tanker.

Dryad has suggested that it was now an established practice by some operators to turn off their AIS while operating in the area. This is seen as a precaution against pirates that might be searching for ship’s position data. The downside was that authorized organizations, including the Nigerian Navy, just see a ship “going dark”, which would be consistent with thevessel being kidnapped. The Nigerian Navy has recently mounted operations to interdict and arrest any vessel found not broadcasting on AIS.

As of October 26th the vessel was at anchor off Lagos.

2019-built, Panama-flagged, 15,450 gt Errina is owned by Errina SA care of manager Smart Tankers. It is entered with West of England (Claims Team Greece) on behalf of Errina SA.