17 july 2019
10 Turkish seafarers from the freighter Paksoy-1 were kidnapped by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea on Saturday evening, the Turkish foreign ministry said Tuesday.
According to operator Kadioglu Denizcilik, 12 heavily-armed pirates boarded the vessel as she was under way on a voyage from Cameroon to the Ivory Coast. The crew took refuge in the citadel, but the attackers threatened to kill all of them if they did not come out. The pirates kidnapped 10 crewmembers and allowed the remaining eight to remain on board.
The ship is now anchored at the port of Tema, Ghana. The Turkish foreign ministry has approached authorities in Nigeria and Ghana to attempt to secure the release of the crew.
According to early reports, there were no injuries or casualties, Kadioglu said in a statement. With assistance from the Turkish government, the firm is working to secure the abductees’ release; however, the company says that it has not yet been able to make contact with the victims. “Our ministries are making efforts to bring our friends [home] as soon as possible,” Kadioglu maritime operations manager Numan Paksoy told Turkish media.
The 1997-built Paksoy-1 is a geared coastal freighter of about 9,000 dwt. She is the only vessel listed under Kadioglu’s ownership in the Equasis database.
Piracy in Nigeria has declined this year relative to the levels seen in 2018. For the Gulf of Guinea and the waters off the coast of Nigeria, 21 pirate incidents were registered in the first half of 2019, down from 31 incidents in the same period last year, according to the IMB ICC. Asbjørn Overgaard Christiansen, the acting director of research at Danish Shipping, attributed the decline to more active efforts by Nigerian authorities to ensure maritime security.
The Gulf of Guinea remains the most dangerous area of the world for maritime piracy, especially the region near the coast of Nigeria. In addition to the frequency and violence of the attacks, piracy in this area is focused on kidnapping for ransom, which bears particular risks for crews.