Pirates off West Africa are increasingly reliant on motherships as a spring-board for raids on merchant vessels, Bergen Risk solutions warns.
The trend has coincided with a trend for pirates in the region to strike further from shore, mimicking tactics used by Somali gangs in the Indian Ocean.
“There are now good reasons to assume that maritime criminals have extended their reach offshore Nigeria and masters/owners should take measures to counter this threat,” Bergen Risk Solutions said in an update.
It notes motherships are thought to have been involved in attacks on the 58,000-dwt Spar Rigel (built 2010) last week and the 35,100-dwt Cape Bird (built 2003), which was hijacked in October.
Arild Nodland, CEO Bergen Risk Solutions, explains the increased mothership activity off West Africa has been brewing for some time, but experts have been wary of raising unnecessary fears.
“Too many indicators are now pointing to use of staging vessels and extended reach of Nigerian pirates to ignore them,” he explained.