Deployment of motherships by West African pirates is now an indisputable truth, according to Bergen Risk Solutions.
Four staging vessels were used to aid attacks on ships and oil rigs in the first quarter off the coast of Nigeria, it says.
In a report Bergen Risk explains the use of motherships the region is “now proven beyond doubt”, six months after it first raised the alarm on the issue.
The change in tactics has been accompanied by an increase in the range of pirate activity in the area.
Bergen Risk notes a 12 January attack on a bulk carrier 290 nautical miles from Lagos is the farthest reported offshore incident off Nigeria since it began work in the area in 2007.
Two skiffs and a fishing vessel were deployed in the assault.
Bergen Risk notes pirates have also changed their area of activity once again, leading to an upturn in activity in the Niger Delta during the first quarter.
It notes 13 separate attacks occurred in the first three months of 2012 as gangs which had shifted operations to Benin and Lagos “returned home”.