On Saturday, March 30, armed pirates reportedly attacked a container ship in the vicinity of Douala outer anchorage, roughly 27 km (17 mi) southwest of Douala, and kidnapped four crew members. The container ship was reportedly anchored at the time of the attack and proceeded to Douala immediately following the incident. As of Tuesday, April 2, the container ship remained docked in Douala. Additional incidents of piracy and kidnapping are possible in the Gulf of Guinea in the near term.
This latest attack comes several days after pirates attacked an offshore supply vessel (OSV) roughly 55 km (34 mi) off of Brass (Bayelsa state), killing one Nigerian Navy guard tasked with escorting the vessel and kidnapping five crew members.
The Gulf of Guinea remains vulnerable to piracy. According to the International Maritime Bureau, reports of attacks in waters between Côte d'Ivoire and DRC more than doubled in 2018, with the region seeing a significant spike in violence in the last quarter of 2018. Niger Delta pirates were identified as being responsible for most of these attacks.
Maritime travelers in the region are advised to remain vigilant for the approach of suspicious ships while aboard vessels, monitor developments to the regional security environment, and report all incidents to the nearest authorities. Pirates and other criminals are often armed; do not resist if confronted.
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