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West Africa

The Situation

Lagos & Bonny River (Nigeria) : Pirates are violent and have attacked and robbed vessels/kidnapped crews along the coast and rivers, at anchorages and ports. Vessels advised to be also vigilant in other areas in Nigeria. (source IMO)

piratesPirate attacks rose worldwide in the first quarter of the year, with Nigeria overtaking Indonesia as the country worst plagued by sea bandits, according to the International Maritime Bureau in a report issued in April 2008. The report said that seafarers suffered 49 attacks between January and March 2008 around the world, up 20 percent from the 41 in the same period in 2007.

Nigeria ranked as the No. 1 hotspot amid a lack of effective law enforcement, with its 10 reported attacks — mostly off its main city of Lagos — accounting for one-fifth of the global total. Myriad armed groups roam the Niger Delta, where violence has slashed oil production and helped propel oil prices to new highs. Nigeria produces about 2.1 million barrels of oil a day, the largest output in Africa.

The IMB said that "Violence in the waters off Nigeria is spiraling out of control."

Christian Science Monitor 20 March 2008: Though trawlers have been attacked throughout Nigerian waters, freight ships and oil-industry vessels are most likely to be attacked in the waters near the Niger Delta where a series of pirate strikes prompted commercial operators to halt use of one major port for a full 24 hours in January 2008.

Piracy and kidnappings in the waterways of the Niger Delta, one of the most dangerous areas for shipping in the world, have spiked in early 2009 with at least 10 attacks on vessels reported.

Security has long been a headache for foreign oil firms including Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron operating onshore in Nigeria, where militants frequently bomb pipelines and kidnap expatriate workers. But the distance to facilities in the deep waters of the Gulf of Guinea had meant offshore sites were considered much less at risk.30 January, 2009 Allianz Knowledge Partnership


in the news: Nigeria

Nine crew members of a French ship taken hostage at the weekend off the coast of Nigeria have been freed.

The ship's owner - Bourbon - did not say how it had secured the release of the vessel.

The Bourbon Leda and its crew of five Nigerians, a Cameroonian, two Ghanaians and an Indonesian were hijacked by unknown gunmen in speedboats on Sunday.

Piracy off Nigeria is a common problem, often linked to militants targeting oil firms and taking hostages for ransom.

The BBC 7 Jan. 2009

Shipowners require resilience, not merely security


Our Aims

1. To provide effective Systemic Resilience at sea by taking a holistic, helicopter view to solve an increasingly challenging international problem.

2. To design, provide and service a fully integrated, but flexible, package of equipment, intelligence data and personnel which will enable merchant vessels to safely transit high threat areas, or to safely visit high threat ports.



A Russian oil tanker was attacked by pirates off the Nigerian coast but managed to escape with no casualties or damage, a source at a Russian shipping company said on Tuesday.

The Khatanga, owned by the Murmansk Maritime Shipping Company, was attacked on Monday 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the Nigerian coast by a speedboat with five pirates on board, but managed to shake off its pursuers after about an hour.

The source said what looked like a fishing vessel, which was moving a short distance away from the tanker, had suddenly changed course heading straight for the Khatanga, ignoring all identification requests.

The tanker turned off all lights, issued a distress call and started moving at full steam while the attackers opened fire with light weapons.

The crew escaped unhurt as they had taken shelter in the engine room before the attack.

February 24 (RIA Novosti)