By Samson Echenim with agency report
Barely four days after the MV Duke was attacked in Gulf of Guinea, near Lome, Togo, another ship, Atlantic Discoverer has been attacked in the area, about 100 nautical miles (nm) South-West of Lagos.
According to information provided by Clearwater Dynamics (Alert), and according to initial information and calculations of FleetMon/Maritime Bulletin, the container ship was attacked, but luckily, escaped.
The incident occurred onboard the ship while drifting approximately 80nm south of Cotonou, Republic of Benin. The Duty Officer spotted two armed pirates on the main deck, resulting in the main deck lights being switched on and the vessel proceeding to the west at full speed. As the vessel began to make way, a small craft with a ladder was seen departing the scene. All crew are accounted for.
Clearwater Alert didn’t identify the ship, but almost undoubtedly it’s a container ship ATLANTIC DISCOVERER. The ship was adrift for about five hours in attack area, cause unknown. She resumed sailing shortly after attack, moving West at full speed. As of 1100 UTC Jan 20, she was cruising off Tema, Ghana.
Container ship ATLANTIC DISCOVERER, IMO 9243590, dwt 35925, capacity 2681 TEU, built 2004, flag Marshall Islands, manager ATLANTICA SHIPPING AS, Norway (EQUASIS).
FleetMon/Maritime Bulletin had reported on Sunday that a ship was attacked in the evening Jan 19 in Gulf of Guinea, SW of Lagos. The ship yet not identified. Nearest in time and position cargo ship changed her course shortly after attack time and headed for nearest port. Awaiting further information.
This is the second reported attack on ships in the Gulf of Guinea in four days. MV Duke was attacked on January 15 near Lome and her crew were taken hostage. The crew, mostly Indians were released on Sunday, but one had taken ill and died.
The Gulf of Guinea has become the most dangerous spot for ships in recent time after pirates vacated Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. Countries of West and Central Africa do not appear prepared in addition to clear lack of capacity to tackle the crime.
Nigeria occupies a central position in the Gulf of Guinea and the country is also the largest, controlling 70 percent of trade in the area. Last year, the country’s maritime security regulator, NIMASA hosted an international maritime security summit, where a concerted regional effort at curbing piracy was recommended, including every country making her anti-piracy laws, but no clear security collaboration has been evident in the area.
Nigeria has enacted anti-piracy laws, but no suspect has been arrested and tried under the law since it was enacted a year ago, while pirates continue to strike on a weekly basis in the Gulf of Guinea and sometimes, in areas within Nigerian waters.