In the first half of 2020, IMB’s PRC recorded 98 incidents of piracy and armed robbery off West Africa. During this period, 77 seafarers were taken hostage or kidnapped for ransom, accounting for 90% of maritime kidnappings worldwide – a worrying new trend.
In one example incident, a product tanker was attacked 127 nm from Nigeria. Eight armed pirates kidnapped ten crew members as well as stealing cash, personal valuables, and ship’s property. Regional authorities were notified, a Nigerian Naval Vessel dispatched, and with the help of other nearby ships the tanker was sailed to a safe port. In this case, the kidnapped crew were released three weeks later.
Another recent case saw the Nigerian Navy respond to a distress call from a fishing vessel boarded and hijacked by armed assailants in Ivory Coast waters. As a result the crew were saved and the ship was prevented from being used by the Pirates to carry out further attacks.