Piracy.- Oil Soaked Pirates in Gulf of Guinea

                  

 

In the early hours of 18 January 2014 a 75,000-ton tanker, the MT Kerala, vanished off the coast of Angola. A sophisticated pirate gang hijacked the Greek-owned vessel, disabling its identifications system and communication equipment, and painting over its identifying markers.

More than a week later and 1,300 miles away, the hijackers released Kerala off the coast of Nigeria, after offloading 12,270 tons of its diesel cargo to other ships.

The Kerala hijacking marks the southernmost expansion of Nigeria’s pirate gangs, but represents only one subset of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. The waters of Gabon and Equatorial Guinea each suffered pirate attacks in the first week of 2014.

Off Nigeria—the epicenter of western Africa piracy—there have been at least 12 attacks

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IMB warns of West Africa piracy threat

 

Monday, 10 March 2014 | 20:40

The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) is asking ships to be extra vigilant when transiting West Africa as piracy in the region becomes a growing concern. IMB’s Live Piracy Map shows that since the beginning of the year, one vessel, MT Kerala, has been hijacked and six were boarded in West Africa. There was also one attempted attack.

The hijacking of the Liberian-flag product tanker in January by Nigerian pirates has sparked fears these gangs are venturing further south.

In that incident, the pirates hijacked the MT Kerala off the coast of Luanda in Angolan waters.
The vessel was released by the pirates eight days later after the cargo was illegally transferred in a ship-to-ship operation along the West

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