The Gulf of Guinea is one of the most dangerous piracy areas for mariners, according to maritime intelligence agency Dryad’s maritime crime figures for the first quarter of this year.
Kidnapping of crew for ransom remains the most significant threat to mariners in the region.
The report said that in March, eight crew were taken in three separate incidents off the shores of Rivers and Akwa Ibom States in Nigeria. Three mariners have since been released from captivity after being taken from the tanker Kalamos, 281,087dwt, on Mar 3 when a crew member died from gunfire during the incident.
The Dryad report said another five crew were kidnapped in attacks against the support vessel Maridive 603, 3,658gt, and the floating storage tanker Yoho, 273,268dwt.
There was a single incident of cargo theft in the Gulf of Guinea during the period under review when the small product tanker Mariam was taken off the coast of Warri on Jan 11. The Ghanaian Navy eventually detained the tanker on Jan 17 and eight armed pirates were arrested.
The first quarter of the year saw a rise in the number of reported incidents, to 13, in South America and the Caribbean. Maritime crime has been reported in the waters of Columbia, Venezuela, Honduras, Brazil and throughout the Caribbean.