28 Dec 2019
288.2m x 43.44m
65nm NW of Sao Tome, Sao Tome EEZ
Source Confidence Level
What Exactly Happened
Reporting indicates that the LNG LOKOJA en route to Bonny was attacked in transit. The vessel is understood to have come under attack from a single speedboat with 10 armed men on-board. The pirates are understood to have opened fire on the vessel. The vessel conducted evasive maneuvers causing the attack to fail. The LOKOJA has since been met by the Nigerian Patrol vessel DEFENDER VI and the Portuguese Naval vessel ZAIRE and is continuing under escort.
Our Experts Say
This is the 8th MARSEC incident occurring beyond the eastern fringe of the Nigerian EEZ within 2019. Thus, far five of the seven incidents have occurred within 20nm of the eastern fringe of the Nigerian EEZ. Four incidents have involved kidnappings with one hijacking and three failed attacks. Whilst this area has witnessed maritime crime in previous years, only two incidents were recorded in 2017 and two in 2018 respectively.
This latest incident occurred 13nm NW of a previous incident occuring on the 7th November 19, during which a vessel was fired upon. In the previous incident a vessel was approached by two speedboats to within 600yrds of the vessel which responded by firing distress flares at the speedboat. is further confirmation of a developing trend of incidents that are assessed to be perpetuated by a well-resourced pirate action group, most likely operating from one or more mother-ship vessels. There is a clear trend and concentration of incidents occuring along the eastern fringe of the Nigerian EEZ and in the waters beyond. It is clear that pirates are aware of the limitations of security force protection in the area beyond the Nigerian EEZ and are seeing to exploit the relative absence of protection for commercial vessels.
Within 2019 there has been a considerable drop in incidents in the areas west of the Brass and Agbami terminals. The evolution in trends should be understood and considered vital for all vessels conducting operations within the region and to ensure safe routing whilst within the high-risk area.
There has been a recent up tick in reporting of potential mother vessels that may be acting in support of piracy operations deep off-shore. All vessels are encouraged to display the highest vigilance and take evasive action on any potential sighting. All sightings of possible mother vessels should be reported to MDAT-GoG and [email protected]