New Attack Shows Pirates’ Growing Use Of Motherships

Offshore supply vessel Armada Tuah 22 is reported to have been hijacked off the coast of the Nigerian port city of Brass on March 4 by a group of pirates said to have taken the Indonesian master and chief engineer captive.

Lloyd’s List Intelligence data shows that the Liberia-flagged, 1,465 dwt vessel moved to Onne on March 5, heading to Oyo oilfield under contract to Azienda Generale Italiana Petroli.

Gray Page analyst Freddie Tyler said this latest attack — if confirmed — was significant, being the latest seizure of a Bumi Armada offshore support vessel, after six crew were kidnapped from Armada Tuah 101.

“Another Bumi Armada vessel, offshore support vessel Armada Tugas 1, was reportedly hijacked on February 7, 2013 off the Niger Delta,” Mr Tyler said. “[It] is suspected to have been used as a mother vessel to deliver pirates responsible for the kidnap of officers from the general cargoship Esther C on February 7, 2013 and the offshore support vessel Walvis 7 on February 10 2013.

A local source indicated that Armada Tugas 1 changed ownership briefly before it was hijacked, but this has not been verified.

Regarding the sale of Armada Tugas 1, Mr Tyler said sources reported that the vessel “had been bought by Nigerian interests in recent days”. However, it is unclear whether that took place before or after the hijack. Lloyd’s List Intelligence data suggests that the vessel is still owned by Bumi Armada.
At the time of going to press, Lloyd’s List was waiting to verify ownership of the vessel.

For more maritime news see Lloyd’s List

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