07 November 2020 1620UTC
03° 36N 004° 36E
180nm South-southeast of Lagos / 53nm NNW Agbami Terminal
145 x 22.5 m
Reporting indicates that the Marshall Islands flagged tanker M/T WESLEY (IMO8917924) was approached whilst underway, 180nm South-southeast of Lagos. A speed boat with seven armed pirates, approached the tanker and came to within 250 metres. The Master undertook all security measures and the crew retreated to the citadel. The armed guards onboard displayed their weapons and fired three shots at the speed boat which resulted in the pirates aborting their pursuit and heading away. The vessel and crew are reported safe and the tanker is continuing to her next port of call.
This is the third incident in the waters off Bayelsa State with the previous two incidents occurring 107nm South of Lagos and 94nm South West Brass. Both previous incidents resulted in vessels boarded. This is also the second incident within 24hrs within the Gulf of Guinea following the boarding of the TORM ALEXANDRA south of Cotonou.
With a further failed attempt it is highly likely that the perpetrators will increase in desperation in their attempts to secure their objective which remains most likely the kidnapping of crew for ransom. As such the risk profile for the region is to be considered CRITICAL at this time with incidents assessed as highly likely / expected within days.
Following the end of the SW Monsoon season, attacks are known to increase in frequency as conditions become more favourable. Whilst incident volumes overall are showing a partial increase on those of 2019 there is a significant increase in the volume of kidnap incidents across a prolonged timeframe and corresponding numbers of personnel kidnaped.