An unknown number of pirates armed with automatic weapons in a speed boat approached and fired at a tanker while it was some 61 nautical miles off the coast of Bayelsa Coast, Nigeria, according to data provided by IMB Piracy Reporting Centre.
Alarm aboard the vessel was raised, while the onboard security team returned fire in the attack, which occurred on November 23.
The pirates managed to board the tanker using a ladder and all crew retreated to the citadel. After two hours, the pirates left the tanker.
IMB Piracy Reporting Centre noted that the vessel sustained some damages at the superstructure due to the firing.
While one pirate was reported killed, all crew members aboard the tanker are safe, IMB added.
Additionally, IMB Piracy Reporting Centre recorded two more pirate attacks on November 23, one off Cap Island, Philippines and the other in Vung Tau anchorage, Vietnam.
Eight persons wearing masks, and armed with automatic weapons, in a speed boat attempted to board a bulk carrier underway using a long pole attached with hook in the Philippines. The persons in the boat opened fire and tried to board the vessel but failed due to the hardening measures taken by the vessel and moved away.
In the second incident, a fishing boat slowly approached an anchored bulk carrier in Vietnam. Two robbers armed with knives boarded the vessel and started stealing ship’s stores. As the second crew made his routine rounds the robbers confronted and threatened him with the knife. The duty crew retreated into the accommodation and raised the alarm, resulting in the robbers escaping.
The incidents come on the back of reports of a 20-year low in piracy on the world’s seas, as 141 incidents were recorded in the first nine months of 2016, representing a 25% drop from the same period in 2015. A total of 111 vessels were boarded, five were hijacked, 10 were fired at, and a further 15 attacks were thwarted.
Although the piracy levels dropped, IMB’s global piracy report shows kidnapping and hostage-taking persists off the coasts of West Africa and South East Asia, as 110 seafarers were taken hostage in the first nine months of 2016, and 49 crew were kidnapped for ransom.
Nigeria, a growing hotspot for violent piracy and armed robbery, accounted for 26% of all captures, followed by Indonesia, Malaysia, Guinea and Ivory Coast.
World Maritime News Staff