According to a special advisory warning recently issued by U.K. maritime intelligence provider Dryad Maritime, there has been an increased threat of crew kidnap in the Gulf of Guinea. And since the issue of Dryad’s warning, two further attacks on vessels have taken place within a single week, as two Nigerian-flagged vessels were targeted by maritime criminals on consecutive days, resulting in the kidnap of six crew members.
On March 4, multipurpose offshore vessel MV Prince Joseph 1 was attacked offshore Akwa Ibom state, closely followed by an attack on the offshore tug, MV Asha Deep one day later off Bayelsa state, a particular hotspot for recent incidents, Dryad said. These most recent attacks make this the largest surge over a three month period since Dryad’s records began with eight vessels attacked and 20 crew members kidnapped. In this short period, criminal gangs have operated across a wide area, from the seas off Nigeria to those off Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. At the time of writing it is assessed that 12 crew members remain in captivity.