01 july 2019
Five Indian seafarers have been released after being kidnapped from the product tanker Apecus and taken to Bonny Island in Nigeria on April 19.
The seafarers, Sudeep Chaudhary, Ankit Hooda, Chirag Yadav, Avinash Reddy and Moogu Ravi, have been taken to safety, says India’s shipping minister Mansukh Mandaviya, and will be repatriated soon. Both the Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of External Affairs have worked to secure their release.
The latest quarterly piracy report published by IMB shows that in the first quarter of 2019, the Gulf of Guinea accounted for all of the worldwide crew kidnappings; 21 crew members were kidnapped across five separate incidents. Incidents were reported in Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria and Togo.
But IMB’s statistics also show that whilst Nigeria has been a hotspot for piracy incidents over the past decade, the country experienced a decrease in reported piracy incidents during the first quarter of 2019 – 14 incidents of piracy for Q1 2019, compared to 22 incidents in the same quarter last year.
“These results confirm the Nigerian Navy’s increased efforts to actively respond to reported incidents by dispatching patrol boats,” IMB said.
Piracy expert Professor Bertrand Monnet, who has interviewed pirate gangs in the Niger Delta, estimates that there were approximately 10 groups of pirates that were responsible for the majority of attacks in the area and they were well organized and motivated.