Six crew members from a German-owned containership, including the captain, were kidnapped from the Liberian-flagged containership Demeter while the ship was sailing some 50 nautical miles south-west of Bonny, Nigeria on October 21st.
sguardian reported that an armed group of eight pirates in a black speedboat boarded the boxship after an exchange of fire and kidnapped six crew, including (the) master, chief officer, second officer, second engineer, bosun and cook.
A day earlier, the same group reportedly attempted to board a supply vessel in the same region but their plans was foiled.
According to reports, the pirates are demanding for ransom before releasing their crew members of the Liberia-flagged vessel.
The MTI Network, a crisis communications firm that deals with incidents in the shipping industry, said the attack happened as the ship entered the port of Onne. “All of the 12 remaining seafarers of the Demeter are safe and unhurt and the vessel has proceeded to safe waters,” it said in a statement.
Owned by German shipping firm, Peter Doehle Group, the Demeter was travelling from the capital of Equatorial Guinea, Malabo, to the Liberian capital Monrovia at the time of the incident.
The 3,104 TEU containership, built in 2006, has since been escorted to a safe anchorage.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has recorded 121 piracy incidents in international waters this year, including shootings, attempted kidnappings and hijackings of ships. It described in a report published last week that the Gulf of Guinea remained a “hot spot for attacks”, despite a fall in the number of incidents elsewhere in the world.
Pointing to the waters off the the state of Bayelsa, Bonny Island and Port Harcourt, the head of IMB, Pottengal Mukundan said “The waters off Nigeria remain particularly risky,”. He said there had been an increase in reported hijackings and kidnappings, although many more had not been reported.
“39 of the 49 crewmembers kidnapped globally occurred off Nigerian waters in seven separate incidents”. “Other crew kidnappings in 2017 have been reported 60 nautical miles (69 miles, 111 kilometres) off the coast of Nigeria,” IMB said.