Reporting indicates that a representative of the ‘HAILUFENG’ company reported that one of their fishing vessels, the HAILUFENG 11 which yesterday was believed to be in the general Cotonou and Lome area, may have been hijacked.
Reporting indicates that the AIS was off and all means of communications with the vessel have failed.
Additional information reports that last time the vessel was spotted, she was slowly heading East 080° at 9kts towards Nigerian waters.
There are 18 crews on board the fishing boat (8 Chinese, 7 Ghanaian, 3 Ivorian).
Update 16 May 20:
On the afternoon of the 16th May 2020 , the Nigerian Navy Ship NGURU left Lagos with a detachment of the Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service on board to intercept and vessel. The HAILUFENG 11 was intercepted at about 140nm South of Lagos Fairway buoy. Without response from the Fishing boat, an assault was conducted around 2145hrs while the fishing boat was underway. The assault team took control of the vessel at about 2210hrs. Ten pirates were apprehended and all crew members were rescued.
Details regarding this incident remain unclear and the situation is ongoing. At the time of disappearance there was no adverse weather within the region.
The reference to the Hailufeng company is assessed to be the Dalian Hailufeng Oceanic Fisheries Development which is believed to be an associate company of Dalian Mengxin Ocean Fisheries or Dalian Mengxin Yuanyang Fishery. The company has regularly been cited as having involvement in illicit, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) in the waters off Ghana.
This latest incident follows a report of a suspicious vessel 106nm South Cotonou on the morning of 15th May 20. Whilst it is assessed as a realistic possibility that the incident is related to piracy and the intended kidnap of personnel for ransom, it remains possible that the incident may have links to wider IUU and organised crime.