A bunker tanker has been attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea off the Ivory Coast, maritime security firm Dryad Global has confirmed.
“Pirates are understood to have boarded and hijacked the vessel before departing the vessel with stolen cargo,” Dryad said in an update on the incident.
Contact was lost with the vessel, identified as the MT B Ocean, on January 24. The vessel was understood to be operating as a bunker vessel approximately 54 nautical miles south-southwest of the Port of Abidjan when contact was lost.
Incidents of maritime piracy and armed robbery at sea are historically low off the Ivory Coast, but recent trends indicate pirates are expanded their footprint in the Gulf of Guinea beyond Nigerian waters, Dryad reports.
The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports that the number of piracy and armed robbery incidents in the Gulf of Guinea fell to 34 in 2021, down from 81 reported incidents in 2020. IMB said the increased presence of international naval vessels and cooperation with regional authorities has contributed to the reduction.
However, Gulf of Guinea continues to account for all kidnapping incidents globally, with 57 crew taken in seven separate incidents in 2021, according to the IMB.