New alert underscores piracy risk off Nigeria

OCTOBER 30, 2017 — The Gulf of Guinea remains a piracy hot spot. The latest quarterly report from the International Maritime Bureau notes that a total of 20 reports of attacks against all vessel types were received for Nigeria, 16 of which occurred off the coast of Brass, Bonny and Bayelsa. Guns were reportedly used in 18 of the incidents and vessels were underway in 17 of 20 reports. Furthermore, 39 of the 49 crew members kidnappings globally occurred off Nigerian waters in seven separate incidents. Other crew kidnappings in 2017 have been reported 60 nautical miles off the coast of Nigeria.

"In general, all waters in and off Nigeria remain risky, despite intervention in some cases by the Nigerian Navy. We advise vessels to be vigilant," said International Maritime Bureau Pottengal Mukundan. "The number of attacks in the Gulf of Guinea could be even higher than our figures as many incidents continue to be unreported."

U.S. Maritime Alert

Underscoring the danger in the region, on October 2017, the U.S. Maritime Administration published this U.S. Maritime Alert:

Two incidents have been reported in the Gulf of Guinea in the past six days; the first reportedly occurred south of Port Harcourt, Nigeria at 0600 GMT on October 21, 2017. The second reportedly occurred in the vicinity of 03-35.50N 006-49.20E at 1905 GMT on October 25, 2017; both incidents have been confirmed. The nature of the first incident was piracy and kidnapping; the nature of the second incident was piracy. Exercise caution when transiting this area. Additional information on threats and maritime security resources in the Gulf of Guinea are available in U.S. Maritime Advisory 2015-005 at http://www.marad.dot.gov/msci/advisory. Further updates will be provided when available. This alert will automatically expire on November 2, 2017. Any questions regarding this alert should be directed to marsec@state.gov.

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