This is the 9th MARSEC incident occurring beyond the south & eastern fringe of the Nigerian EEZ within 2019. Thus, far six of the seven incidents have occurred within 20nm of the eastern fringe of the Nigerian EEZ, with the most recent at a distance of only 19nm. 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 20nm NW of a previous incident occurring on the 24th December 19, during which a vessel was attacked by two speedboats. This is further confirmation of an established 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. Previous descriptions have involved an orange /red colored vessel sighted in the vicinity of the ISTANBUL at the time of the attack on the 24th. This vessel was assessed to be the DETERMINATION 2 IMO820104 and remains a vessel of interest. 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]