Armed Pirates Approach Oil Tanker

Armed Pirates Approach Oil Tanker
Reporting indicates that the Marshall Islands flagged oil tanker M/T Wesley was approached while underway off Bayelsa State.

Reporting indicates that the Marshall Islands flagged oil tanker M/T Wesley was approached while underway off Bayelsa State in the Gulf of Guinea by a speed boat with seven armed pirates.

That’s according to maritime security company Dryad Global, which noted that the crew retreated to the citadel and armed guards onboard the tanker displayed their weapons and fired three shots at the speed boat. This action was said to have resulted in the pirates aborting their pursuit and heading away.

Dryad Global highlighted that this is the third incident in the waters off Bayelsa State, with the previous two incidents occurring 107nm South of Lagos and 94nm South West Brass. Both previous incidents resulted in vessels boarded, Dryad Global revealed.

“With a further failed attempt it is highly likely that the perpetrators will increase in desperation in their attempts to secure their objective which remains most likely the kidnapping of crew for ransom,” Dryad Global said in a company statement posted on its website.

“As such the risk profile for the region is to be considered critical at this time with incidents assessed as highly likely/expected within days,” Dryad Global added in the statement.

“Following the end of the SW monsoon season, attacks are known to increase in frequency as conditions become more favorable. Whilst incident volumes overall are showing a partial increase on those of 2019 there is a significant increase in the volume of kidnap incidents across a prolonged timeframe and corresponding numbers of personnel kidnapped,” Dryad Global continued.

Dryad Global describes West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea as one of the world's most important shipping routes for both oil exports from the Niger Delta and consumer goods to and from Central and West Africa. The company says West Africa is currently the global epicenter of maritime piracy.

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