The Nigerian Navy has prevented a group of pirates from hijacking the 28,844 dwt containership Safmarine Kuramo carrying 25 crew members on February 5 off Nigeria, Maersk Line confirmed to World Maritime News.
“In the morning of 5 February local time, the container vessel Safmarine Kuramo was attacked while on route to Onne in Nigeria. Presumably a number of criminals came on board and took control of the vessel,” Maersk Line’s Senior Press Officer, Michael Christian Storgaard, said.
“Same day late in the afternoon, the Nigerian Navy boarded the vessel in a rescue mission. At 18.20 CET, all 25 members of the crew and the vessel were reported safe,” he added.
“Our primary concern is the safety and security of our crews and vessels.”
Maersk Line said that the 2004-built vessel, owned by Safmarine, a part of Maersk Line, is now alongside in Onne where a support team is in place.
Hijackings in the Gulf of Guinea region are becoming more frequent as pirates have attacked two vessels over the last month. Namely, the 2003-built tanker Leon Dias was hijacked and later released, but the vessel’s five crew members were kidnapped. Additionally, armed pirates attempted to board the RORO vessel MV Silver Sky while it was sailing some 64 nautical miles off Beyelsa.
In November 2015, a group of armed men boarded a Polish cargo ship Szafir while it was en route from Antwerp to Nigeria and took five crew members hostage, including three officers and the captain.
The piracy activities off Nigeria have been on the low for some time which resulted in the size of the ‘High Risk Area’ for piracy in the Indian Ocean being reduced.
However, by the end of 2015, the pirates became more active.
In 2015 alone, Nigerian military officials arrested 1,610 pirates, militants and criminals in the West African Niger Delta.
World Maritime News Staff