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Pirates open fire on containership near Bayelsa, fail to board vessel

Pirates operating off the coast of Nigeria have reportedly chased and shot at a containership. However, the pirates failed in boarding the ship and abducting any of its crew. The incident, which occurred on Tuesday January 21st; is the first reported piracy incident in the Gulf of Guinea in 2020.

Disclosing details of the attempted abduction attempt by the pirates; the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre revealed that around 0935 local time on January 21; a speed boat with around 15 armed people on board chased and fired upon the ship. Equally important, the ship was around 19 nautical miles South West of Bayelsa in the Niger Delta region; when the incident occurred.

Thereafter, the ship’s alarm was raised and all non-essential crew took shelter in the ship’s secured citadel. Further, the ship increased speed to evade the attack while an armed Nigerian Navy guard onboard the containership returned fire.

These resulted in the speed boat abandoning the attack and moving away.

Equally important, the unidentified vessel and crew were reported safe.

Meanwhile, the attack comes in the wake of an unprecedented rise in the number of crew kidnappings; carried out in the Gulf of Guinea region in 2019. Statistics show that the number of kidnappings increased more than 50 percent year-over-year to 121 reported kidnappings. Also, the figure represents 90 percent of crew kidnappings globally in 2019.

As a matter of fact, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre further revealed that the Gulf of Guinea; accounted for 64 total incidents, including all four vessel hijackings that occurred in 2019; as well as 10 out of 11 vessels that reported coming under fire.

Reported the recent release of 20 abducted Indians by suspected pirates.

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