West African Pirates In Dawn Raid On Cargoship

A general cargoship was attacked off the port of Conakry in the Gulf of Guinea on Tuesday morning and port control did not respond to the vessel’s distress call, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

At 0230 hrs, seven armed robbers in a fast boat approached an anchored general cargoship during heavy rain.
The report received by the IMB states that six robbers boarded the vessel and entered the bridge by firing at and breaking the bridge windows.

The electrical officer, second officer and third officer were taken hostage. Their hands were tied and they were taken to the master’s cabin.

Pirates then ransacked the master’s cabin, along with four others, and stole cash and other valuable belongings. The group then escaped in their waiting boat.

The master contacted Conakry port control but received no response. The third mate suffered slight injuries to the face, having been hit during the incident.

The attack follows a call for greater commercial involvement in maritime security in the area. Currently a working group, on which the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency has a seat, is lobbying the government on this matter.

There have been various reports on the rise of piracy in West Africa, but Bergen Risk Solutions chief executive Arild Nodland said Nigeria’s maritime security problems — measured by attacks on international shipping and marine units — are lower than they have been for years.

Mr Nodland said the IMB reporting in the area has increased because ships have been better at reporting, not because there are more attacks.

However, he added that the bad news is that piracy has spread far offshore and westwards, making it more difficult to manage.

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