A maritime security alert has been issued for the Gulf of Guinea after a cargo vessel at anchor was attacked in position 04:12N – 006:56, approximately 3NM from the Fairway Buoy off Port Harcourt, Nigeria at 1510 local time on 28 February.
Reports suggest the vessel was a Dutch-owned, Curacao-flagged refrigerated cargo vessel. Eight armed men boarded and opened fire towards the bridge, stole cash and crew’s possessions, and kidnapped the Master and chief engineer before escaping. A third crew member was left unaccounted for.
The incident highlights the high levels of violence involved with attacks off Nigeria; it is likely the two crew members abducted will be held for ransom onshore.
Vessels in the area are advised to maintain strict watch rotas and exercise vigilance at all times. 13 attacks have been recorded off West Africa in 2012 so far, seven of which occurred off Nigeria.