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Why should seafarers be constantly put in harm’s way, from pirates, hostile officials in ports that nobody ought to visit, and now as collateral damage as the threat of war breaks out in the Middle East? The answer is, as it has always been, that they have no choice in these matters and have to go where their ship takes them, or lose their jobs.

Piracy is continuing to pose dangers to seafarers onboard ships in the Gulf of Guinea and the shipping industry is urging the authorities to take immediate action to stamp out the threat.

Maritime piracy and armed robbery against ships have dipped to the lowest number in five years, according to the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) report, though the decline has been marred by the more serious incidents of vessel hijacking.

The piracy-prone Gulf of Aden at the Horn of Africa has seen attacks decrease sharply over the last five years, but the positive development has come at a massive cost, according to data cited by Intertanko.

Although piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea declined year-on-year by 18% in 2014, kidnapping of senior crew members increased by 75% over the previous year, according to a report by maritime security firm Dryad Maritime.

An attempted hijacking of a product tanker 200 nm offshore Nigeria at the weekend could be a “game changer” in Gulf of Guinea piracy warn security firm Dryad Maritime.

Liberia-flagged oil tanker Fair Artemis, missing for a week off West Africa following a pirate attack has been found emptied of its cargo.

The 12,000 dwt vessel, last reported off Togo at time of writing with crew unharmed, had lost contact with manager Fairdeal Group after sending a distress call off Ghana at 1800 GMT on June 4.

“So far we can say that the ship was boarded by a number of pirates, who have stolen the cargo and other items on the vessel,” said Fairdeal fleet director John Gray. “We have spoken to the captain of the vessel and are delighted to say that everyone on board is safe, and the families and appropriate authorities have been contacted.

“We would like to express our thanks to all the organisations who have worked to help find the vessel and for the support we have received from everyone involved.”

UK ministers for Shipping and the Armed Forces published its first National Strategy for Maritime Security (NSMS) at the UK Chamber of Shipping yesterday.


A Singapore-flagged oil-supplying tug, MDPL Continental One, was attacked last week and four crew members taken hostage by pirates.