17 DEC 2020
The toll on seafarers continues to rise in the Gulf of Guinea with reports that eight crew members early this morning. The threat to seafarers remains high in the region with the security services warning that additional incidents are likely in the coming days.
The latest incident, the ninth this morning according to Dryad Global, involved a 38-year old bulk carrier, the Stevia. The 11,990 DWT vessel registered in Cameroon was reportedly sailing from southern Nigeria to Abidjan, Ivory Coast when it was attacked by what is believed to local Nigerian militants. Praesidium reports that the vessel’s speed dropped and was believed to be drifting for about two hours.
An unknown number of perpetrators were believed to have boarded the ship. The security services report that eight of the ship’s crew were abducted. It is the same general area where crew from the Stelios K were abducted a month ago Praesidium reports.
Dryad’s analysis reports that this is the twenty-seventh kidnapping incident in the region in 2020 with a total of 138 people having been kidnapped.
The Nigerian Navy was informed of the incident and in the first piece of positive news, the US government last week supplied Nigeria with equipment to reactivate its Regional Maritime Awareness Capability. Dryad quotes the Nigeria news media’s reports that the U.S. government transferred equipment and spares to the Nigerian Navy for the facility which was originally donated to Nigeria a few years ago. The U.S. is also assisting with training.
The goal is to provide the Nigerian Navy with better intelligence-gathering capabilities to improve the effectiveness of its patrols in the region.
Praesidium, however, notes the recent threats by local Nigerian militants which it believes contributed to the recent spike in attacks in the area. They caution that additional incidents are likely.