Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Another Pair of Attacks in the Currently Most Pirated Waters in the World

Russian Navy Saves Container Vessel Crew but OSV Safety in Doubt
Shipping News Feature

GULF OF GUINEA – The waters off the West African coast maintained their unwanted title this week as the most pirated region after two reported attacks in as many days. Seafarers aboard the Panamanian flagged container vessel MSC Lucia avoided capture, or worse, due to the prompt action of Russian naval forces on Monday (25 October).

The 1,893 TEU box ship was en route from Lome to Douala when she was attacked by an armed group but not before she managed a distress call. The pirates managed to board the ship where the crew had locked themselves in the engine room.

A Kumov Ka-27PS helicopter from the destroyer Vice-Admiral Kulakov arrived at the scene carrying a group of marines causing the criminals to flee in their fast skiff. The marines secured the ship and ensured all the crew were unharmed before returning to their own ship which is deployed to the Gulf for three weeks. In a statement issued on 26 October MSC confirmed all crew were unharmed, continuing:

”The safety of crew is a top priority and MSC would like to express its sincere gratitude to all participants, namely, MDAT-GoG, IMB Piracy centres, the Russian and Italian Navies, for the remarkable cooperation that led to this successful rescue.

”This incident underscores the importance of maintaining the increased presence of naval forces and assets in the Gulf of Guinea. Also, it highlights that progress in the fight against maritime piracy requires a solid framework of cooperation and coordination at international, regional and national levels, which MSC continues to support.”

The day after the attack on the Lucia reports came in that a further attack had occurred, this on an offshore supply vessel, the Montet Tide, later believed to be drifting some 200 nautical miles east of the previous attack. It is not known if the same gang was involved, nor the condition of the crew at this time.

Photo: Image courtesy of the Russian Ministry of Defence.