Tanker Matrix I kidnapped five crew released, Nigeria
Dominguez Francois's insight:
Reuters reported on June 6, that 5 Pakistani crew of Nigerian tanker Matrix I, kidnapped by Nigerian pirates on May 25, were released, they’re unharmed. No details available as to the terms of the release. Kidnap news: Tanker Matrix I attacked, crew hijacked, Nigeria Pirates attacked Nigeria-flagged, but Greek-operated, product tanker Matrix I early in the morning May 25 13, some 40 nautical miles of the coast of Bayelsa state, Nigeria. Operator of the vessel, Val Oil Trading Co., confirmed the attack, but didn’t reveal any other details. Reportedly, some of the crew were hijacked. Crew is said to consist of 12 Pakistani and 5 Nigerians, wrote Reuters. According to AIS data, in the evening May 27 vessel was anchored off Bonny – Obopo coastline. Product tanker Matrix I, IMO 9041136, dwt 5800, built 1992, flag Nigeria, manager VAL OIL TRADING SA, Greece.
For a geographical representation of pirate attacks location please refer to IMB Piracy & Armed Robbery Map, a very valuable tool that shows all the piracy and armed robbery incidents reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre during 2013. If exact coordinates are not provided, estimated positions are shown based on information provided. Zoom-in and click on the pointers to view more information of an individual attack. Pointers may be superimposed on each other.
PIRACY & ARMED ROBBERY REPORTS until last week of May
Date: 27.05.2013. Time: 0140 UTC. Position: 31° 12.70′ N – 29° 46.60′ E, El Dekheila Anchorage, Alexandria Port, Egypt, East Africa. Vessel type: Bulk Carrier. Alert duty crew on board an anchored bulk carrier noticed three robbers near the forecastle and raised the alarm resulting in the robbers escaping with stolen ship stores.
Date: 27.05.2013. Time: 0510 LT. Position: 2° 22.00′ S – 81° 00.00′ W, Estero Salado, Guayaquil, Ecuador, South America. Vessel type: Container ship. Around six armed persons with shotguns in a speed boat boarded a container ship underway with pilot and unarmed security guards on board. Upon investigation it was discovered container seals broken but nothing stolen.
Date: 24.05.2013. Time: 1850 UTC. Position: 5° 59.00′ S – 105° 57.00′ E, Cigading Anchorage, Indonesia, South China Sea. Vessel type: N/A. Three robbers armed with machetes in a speed boat boarded an anchored bulk carrier. Alert duty crew noticed the robbers and raised the alarm resulting in the robbers escaping. Upon investigation, it was found that engine spares were stolen. Port control informed.
Date: 23.05.2013. Time: 0545 LT. Position: 31° 12.00′ N – 29° 42.00′ E, Alexandria Waiting Area Anchorage, Egypt, East Africa. Vessel type: Tanker. Crew on board an anchored vessel noticed the forecastle door and rope hatch open and ship’s equipment and stores stolen. It was suspected the theft occurred during the night.
Date: 23.05.2013. Time: 0100 LT. Position: 22° 16.00′ N – 91° 48.00′ E, Chittagong Port, Bangladesh, Indian Ocean. Vessel type: Chemical Tanker. During discharge operations, at berth, a product tanker was boarded by robbers armed with knives. They were noticed by the local watchman who immediately raised the alarm. The crew and watchman proceeded to the location armed with long sticks and metal pipes. Seeing the approaching crew the robbers jumped overboard and tried to escape with a mooring line which the crew successfully recovered. Port authorities informed and no action taken.
Date: 21.05.2013. Time: 0215 LT. Position: 29° 50.00′ N – 32° 33.00′ E, Suez E16 Anchorage, Egypt, East Africa. Vessel type: Container ship. Duty officer on board an anchored container vessel noticed on CCTV, three robbers in boiler suits near the forecastle. Alarm raised and fog horn sounded. Seeing crew alertness the robbers escaped. On inspection it was noticed that five container seals had been broken and contents of one container pilfered. Port control informed.
Date: 21.05.2013. Time: 0210 LT. Position: 3° 50.00′ N – 77° 07.00′ W, Buenaventura Anchorage, Colombia, South America. Vessel type: General Cargo Ship. Three robbers in a boat approached the anchored general cargo ship, and attempted to board via the anchor chain. Alert duty crew noticed the robbers and raised the alarm. Seeing crew alertness, the robbers aborted the boarding and moved away. Coast guard and port control informed.
Date: 20.05.2013. Time: 2000 LT. Position: 3° 47.00′ N – 98° 42.00′ E, Indonesia, South China Sea. Vessel type: General Cargo Ship. While at berth, an unknown number of robbers armed with knives boarded the ship. The duty crew noticed them stealing ship property from the poop deck store. The robbers escaped after the crew were alerted and the alarm sounded.
Date: 19.05.2013. Time: 1445 UTC. Position: 25° 32.40′ N – 57° 27.10′ E, Iran, Persian Gulf. Vessel type: LPG Tanker. While sailing along the coast of Iran to the Strait of Hormuz, a skiff closed to the stern of the ship. Suddenly the skiff changed course, and chased the ship. Other skiffs joined in, with a total of four skiffs chased the ship. Each skiff had onboard more than three unknown men armed with rifles and long knives. They chased the ship within 200-300 metre. The ship Master raised the alarm, increased the ship’s speed, carried out ship protection measures and commenced small alterations of helm. After 30 mins, the skiffs stopped pursuing the ship, and left.
Date: 19.05.2013. Time: 0525 UTC. Position: 12° 12.00′ N – 44° 20.00′ E, Gulf of Aden, Somalia, East Africa. Vessel type: General cargo ship. Five pirates armed with AK47 rifles and a RPG approached the ship underway. Master enforced anti-piracy measures and the on board armed guards fired warning shots, when the skiff closed to 400m from the ship, resulting in the skiff aborting and moving away. Crew and ship safe.
Date: 18.05.2013. Time: 0155 UTC. Position: Alexandria Waiting Anchorage, Egypt, Egypt. Vessel type: Chemical Tanker. Duty officer on board the anchored tanker noticed a robber lowering ship’s stores into a waiting boat. Alarm raised and crew mustered. Seeing crew alertness the robber escaped with his accomplices. Port control informed.
Date: 17.05.2013. Time: 0230 LT. Position: 6° 03.10′ N – 1° 17.70′ E, Lome Anchorage, Togo, West Africa. Vessel type: Chemical Tanker. Eleven persons in an unlit boat approached the anchored tanker. The duty A/B noticed the boat and informed OOW who raised the alarm, contacted Togo Navy and activated the fire pumps. Two persons jumped into the water and attempted to board the tanker via the anchor chain but failed and returned to their boat. At 0300 LT, the boat approached again from the port quarter with additional persons who were seen holding hooks attached with ropes. The duty crew directed search lights towards the boat and noticed that the boat was flooding due to the fire hose water. The boat remained alongside and made several attempts to board the tanker. At 0420 LT, the persons aborted the attempted boarding and moved away. At 0500 LT, a Togo Navy boat arrived at the location and patrolled the area.
Date: 15.05.2013. Time: 0001 – 0400 LT. Position: 3° 17.00′ N – 103° 48.00′ E, Around 30nm NW of Pulau Tioman, Malaysia. Vessel type: Barge, Tug. A tug towing a barge enroute from Singapore to Kuantan noticed stores and ship property stolen from the barge upon arrival at Kuantan Pilot station.
Date: 15.05.2013. Time: 0001 LT. Position: 3° 17.11′ N – 103° 48.83′ E, Northwest of Tioman Island, Malaysia, South China Sea. Vessel type: Barge Carrier. While tug boat TCL4401 towing the barge Crest 289 was passing the Tioman Island, while enroute to Kuantan Port, Malaysia from Singapore, some robbers boarded the barge unnoticed and stole 12 pieces of manhole covers and stern light solar cell. The Master only discovered the items missing upon arrival at Kuantan Port. The crew was not injured.
Date: 12.05.2013. Time: 2100 LT. Position: 1° 15.60′ N – 104° 07.62′ E, Straits of Malacca and Singapore, Malaysia, South China Sea. Vessel type: Barge Carrier. While tug boat Crest Jade 1 was towing barge Crest 2825 proceeding from Singapore to Labuan, Malaysia, the Master and crew spotted two thieves aboard Crest 2825. The Master activated the emergency alarm immediately to alert the crew and manoeuvred the tugboat alongside Crest 2825. The thieves fled on a small boat and stole the emergency towing gear. The crew was not injured.
Date: 12.05.2013. Time: 0415 LT. Position: 3° 41.00′ S – 114° 27.00′ E, Taboneo Anchorage, Indonesia, South China Sea. Vessel type: Bulk Carrier. Five robbers in a boat approached and boarded an anchored bulk carrier via the anchor chain and broke into the forward store. Seeing the crew alertness, the robbers escaped in their boat with the stolen stores.
Date: 12.05.2013. Time: 0203 LT. Position: 3° 48.00′ N – 77° 11.00′ W, Buenaventura Inner Anchorage, Colombia, South America. Vessel type: Bulk Carrier. While at anchor, Deck Officer on board the ship noticed robbers from a small boat boarding the ship at the forecastle. Crew on the bridge noticed five robbers disembarking from the forecastle deck into a small boat.
Date: 09.05.2013. Time: 2230 LT. Position: 6° 04.00′ N – 1° 15.00′ E, Lome Anchorage, Togo, West Africa. Vessel type: Tanker. Eight persons in a boat came alongside and attempted to board an anchored tanker. It was observed that the boat attempted to come along side from various directions but the water from the fire hoses was flodding the boat, resulting in the attempts being aborted.
Date: 07.05.2013. Time: 2300 LT. Position: Malacca Straits. Vessel type: Fishing vessel. A fishing vessel while carrying out fishing activities was attacked and hijacked by the pirates and sailed into Indonesian territorial waters. On 25.05.2013 the Indonesian Marine Police detained the fishing vessel. Full report awaited.
Date: 07.05.2013. Time: 1458 UTC. Position: 4° 43.30′ N – 8° 20.70′ E, Calabar River, Nigeria, West Africa. Vessel type: Bulk Carrier. Seven armed pirates in a speed boat approached and fired at the bulk carrier underway with pilot on board. Master raised the alarm, increased the ship’s speed, sent distress message, activated SSAS and non-essential crew members mustered in the citadel. The pirates aborted the attack and moved away when they heard the ship’s alarm. No injuries to crew.
Date: 05.05.2013. Time: 2248 UTC. Position: 5° 41.70′ N – 1° 20.20′ E, Around 27nm SSE of Lome, Togo, West Africa. Vessel type: Tanker. Nine armed pirates in a speed boat approached the tanker during STS operations. Three pirates boarded the tanker and opened fire. The Togo navy guards on board another tanker alongside, exchanged fire with the pirates resulting in the pirates aborting the attempted attack and moved away.
Date: 05.05.2013. Time: 2245 LT. Position: 5° 41.70′ N – 1° 20.20′ E, Around 27nm SSE off Lome, Togo, West Africa. Vessel type: Product Tanker. During STS operations the tanker saw armed pirates on the deck of the adjacent ship. The alarm was raised, SSAS activated and all crew mustered. The on board Togo Navy guards exchanged fire with the pirates. Later a large skiff with eight to ten armed pirates was spotted leaving the adjacent ship and proceeded to the tanker. Seeing this, the Master instructed all crew members to retreat into the citadel and informed the Togo Navy. The on board naval guards took the necessary action to prevent the pirates from boarding the ship and in the meantime the Togo Navy despatched two patrol boats to provide assistance which then escorted the tanker back to the anchorage. All crew reported safe.
Date: 05.05.2013. Time: 0254 UTC. Position: 2° 28.60′ S – 80° 04.10′ W, Around 18nm SSW of Guayaquil, Ecuador, South America. Vessel type: Container ship. Pirates attempted to board the container ship underway. Alarm raised, crew mustered and secured the ship. Incident reported to the coast guard which sent a patrol boat for assistance. Seeing the crew alertness the pirates moved away. All crew safe.
Date: 04.05.2013. Time: 0940 UTC. Position: 4° 02.30′ N – 6° 54.90′ E, Around 28nm SW of Bonny, Nigeria, West Africa. Vessel type: Container ship. Seven armed pirates in a speed boat approached the ship underway. Master raised the alarm, increased the ship’s speed, sent distress message, activated SSAS and non-essential crew members mustered in the citadel. The pirates closed in to a distance of 60-70 metres and fired at the ship using automatic guns. At 0953 UTC, the pirates aborted the attack and moved away as the distance between the ship and the boat increased. No injuries to crew.
Date: 04.05.2013. Time: 1135 UTC. Position: 3° 49.50′ N – 6° 41.20′ E, 33nm SW of Bonny River, Fairway Buoy, Nigeria, West Africa. Vessel type: N/A. Six to eight pirates in a speed boat chased and fired at the ship underway. Master enforced anti-piracy measures and managed to move away. All crew safe were but the ship sustained minor damage due to the firing.
For up to date live and accurate information please refer to ICC Commercial Crime Services (CCS) and IMO Global Integrated Shipping Information System websites.
WASHINGTON — Long before a retired Southern California couple and two friends were shot and killed aboard their sailboat off the Horn of Africa in February 2011, the threat from Somali pirates was frighteningly clear.
LAGOS: Private security officials say pirates have hijacked a fuel tanker off the coast of Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta, kidnapping foreign sailors in the region's latest attack.
Security officials said Tuesday that the hijacking of the MT Matrix I happened Saturday off the coast of Bayelsa state. The officials said the pirates kidnapped both Nigerian and Pakistani sailors in the attack.
A military spokesman in the delta referred calls for comment Tuesday to Nigeria's navy. Commodore Kabir Aliyu, a navy spokesman, said there had been no report of a hijacking made to officials.
The Gulf of Guinea, which follows the continent's southward curve from Liberia to Gabon, has seen an escalation in violent pirate attacks. Insurers have listed Nigeria, neighboring Benin and nearby waters in the same risk category as Somalia.
L'armateur Leonhardt & Blumberg de Hambourg a officiellement confirmé la libération, le 24 mai dernier, des quatre marins de l'équipage du porte-conteneurs Hansa Marburg détenus pendant 31 jours par un groupe pirate du Nigéria. Les quatre marins, de nationalité ukrainienne et russe, sont sains et saufs et ont été rapatriés à Port Harcourt. Aucune précision n'a été apportée, à ce jour, sur les circonstances de leur libération, en particulier sur le versement ou non d'une rançon. Le porte-conteneurs Hansa Marburg avait été attaqué le 23 avril 2013, à 180 nautiques au sud de Bonny (Nigéria), alors qu'il était en route vers Malabo, en Guinée équatoriale.
Source : François Dominguez, Département Veille stratégique Gallice Group.
Piracy in much of Africa is on the decline, yet on the continents west coast it seems to be getting worse. Solving this problem will take a concerted international effort in the fields of technology and social development.
Pirates attacked Nigeria-flagged, but Greek-operated, product tanker Matrix I early in the morning May 25 13, some 40 nautical miles of the coast of Bayelsa state, Nigeria. Operator of the vessel, Val Oil Trading Co., confirmed the attack, but didn’t reveal any other details. Reportedly, some of the crew were hijacked. Crew is said to consist of 12 Pakistani and 5 Nigerians, wrote Reuters. According to AIS data, in the evening May 27 vessel was anchored off Bonny – Obopo coastline. Product tanker Matrix I, IMO 9041136, dwt 5800, built 1992, flag Nigeria, manager VAL OIL TRADING SA, Greece.
The international community has united in its mission to halt the hijacking of merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea with a massive naval presence that monitors the vast, strategic seas in which Somali pirates operate.
New type of Nigerian pirates emerged, more dangerous than any other we know
Dominguez Francois's insight:
We received information from reliable sources from Gulf of Guinea, or to be more exact, from Nigeria. Information claims the emergence of a new type of Nigerian pirates, much more sophisticated than any other type of pirates we know, including Somalia pirates. For some time already, Nigerian pirates moved further into Gulf of Guinea, to find and hound vessels sailing in international waters. Judging from the stories of recent attacks and hijacks, they’re after container ships, mostly. This new type of Nigerian pirates does have some military training or military background. Pirates are armed not with just AK-47 and machine-guns, but with explosives and powerful hydraulic cutters to break in citadels, and that’s what they already did, in City of Xiamen case. Somalia pirates, for all we know, didn’t manage the skills required for breaking in citadels. Those high-seas pirates, by now, have at their disposal hijacked on April 25 offshore speed passenger boat Utai 8, with, accidentally, bullet-proof superstructure, capable of speeding up to 25 knots (actually, it is not a passenger boat, it’s a security boat). Sources say they won’t be too much surprised, if pirates, one day, would attack vessels from helicopters.
According to a story told to a source by a seaman who was kidnapped last year and ransomed some 2 weeks after, pirates dens are very difficult to spot, being situated in hard-to-reach jungles along the coastline. Kidnapped crew are kept in a hut with doors in each wall, and bunks inside, for prisoners. They were fed with some kind of porridge, and given bottled water. Pirates were always on alert, readying for battle any time somebody or something was passing their den by.
Piracy in Nigeria and Gulf of Guinea, according to sources, is on the rise, with much more dangerous type of professional criminals coming into play. It doesn’t diminish threat of pirates who infest inner waters of Nigeria or Togo – drunken or doped (or both) marauders who attack vessels to rob the crews.
With regards to the above, we have to ask ourselves some questions. First of all, we have to ask the safety of the citadels, and BMP4 recommendations in general. In the light of what we know and of recent attacks, citadels, when vessel is attacked far away in Gulf of Guinea, may be considered not as a safe haven and only hope, but as a risky place to hide in. Somalia pirates were to get a ransom on an understanding, that they’ll return the vessel and the crew, that was the backbone of their business, actually. Nigerian pirates, as it stands, simply don’t have much reason to care for crews lives. They kill some crew during the attack and breaking in citadel, so what? They’ll take hostages with them anyway, and they’ll get the ransom for the kidnapped, casualities or no. Second question is, what’s next? We don’t know for sure, if Nigerian high-seas pirates are purposefully chasing container ships. What if they are? What it is exactly they’re after – goods, or crew hostages, or both, plus robbing the crew of anything valuable, as a bonus? Or maybe, pirates are working out other schemes of utilizing the hijacked vessels, to get profit in some other ways? I have some ideas about that, but I’d better keep them for myself, alas the pirates would find them usable. Thirdly, we are to ask the “leaders” of shipping - IMO, BIMCO and the rest of the mob, if they’re going to do something about the new risks in Gulf of Guinea. Something more than expressing their “deep concern”, I mean. Something more efficient, than signing some new version of Coastal States Code of Conduct, or working out new Best Management Practice? I’m sure they won’t. Nigeria is too weak a State to curb its’ own piracy, but is strong enough to effectively bar attempts to neutralize piracy threat by any foreign power, State, International or private. The best friend of pirates, the UN, will yell a bloody murder and label any such attempt as a disguised form of post colonialism and downright imperialism. There is no one among the international maritime organizations, who’s capable of standing up against populist rhetoric of the UN and concerned States.
Crystal-ball is saying to me, that worse is to come, that all the concerned parties will try to hide the truth for as long as possible, and that any real move to protect the shipping in the region won’t take place until the scale of the piracy will be to big to hide from the public.
In the first three months of this year, there were 66 incidents involving pirates worldwide - compared to 102 incidents for the same period in 2012. Piracy is costly for shipping and insurance companies alike.
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