05 December 2020 0620 UTC
02 59.8N 002 56.4E
210nm South Lagos
301m x 11m
Reporting indicates that the French flagged MT VERRAZANE (IMO 9649146) was approached approximately 210nm South of Lagos. The alarm was raised and the accompanying security escort vessel (SEV) was vectored towards the approaching speedboat. The perpetrators abandoned the approach on spotting the SEV.
This is the 68th incident in the JWC HRA in 2020 and the 5th incident this week. There have been a surge of incidents in the past 5 weeks, resulting in an increased risk rating for the Gulf of Guinea HRA to CRITICAL on 11th November.
The previous 3 attacks in the region this week have been unsuccessful. Therefore as the rate of failed attacks increases, the perpetrators are highly likely to increase in desperation. This is likely to be because of the increased risk to themselves from Naval counter piracy activity, but from logistical strain also. Heightened desperation also means that attempts against vessels are highly likely to continue, further supported by a sustained period of favourable weather. Smaller vessels and those of a vulnerable design are increasingly prone to opportune targeting.
The NEW RANGER has previously been involved in incidents in the Gulf of Guinea in June and September 2011 and January 2015.
Vessels are advised to operate within this area at a heightened posture maintaining the highest levels of vigilance whilst implementing full hardening / mitigation in accordance with BMP West Africa where possible. In addition the IMB advises that vessels remain at least 200nm-250nm offshore where possible.