There have been eight attacks in total off Cotonou, Benin, so far in 2011 with six taking place since May this year. Of the eight attacks, four vessels were hijacked and two boarded by pirates who robbed ship and crew property and in some cases cargo.
The most recent attack took place on a Greek-owned tanker on 16 June 2011.
On 14 June 2011, heavily-armed pirates hijacked another Greek tanker as it lay off Cotonou. It was forced to sail to an unknown location and ship’s and crew property was stolen before she was abandoned.
IMB-PRC Manager Noel Choong commented: “The most recent attack was the eighth we have seen in recent weeks. Attacks are increasing off Cotonou and the pirates are violent, often injuring crewmembers. It is important that local authorities step up patrols to curb this problem.”
Worldwide, there have been 248 attacks so far in 2011 with 28 vessels hijacked. The waters off Somalia continues to remain the most piracy-prone area but the risk to crews and shipping off Nigeria and its neighbouring states remains high as well. Especially since incidents are not reported.
Mr Choong continued: “These attacks off West Africa are worrying because they seem to involve a greater degree of violence against crew than other hijackings or robberies. We also know there is a problem with underreporting in this region, as owners and crews that regularly operate there may fear reprisals from the pirate gangs that inhabit the area.”
IMB strongly urges all shipmasters and owners to continue to report all worldwide actual, attempted or suspicious piracy and armed robbery incidents to the IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre.
IMB Piracy Reporting Centre can be contacted:
PO Box 12559,
Tel: + 60 3 2078 5763
Fax: + 60 3 2078 5769
Telex: MA34199 IMBPCI
24 Hours Anti Piracy Helpline Tel: + 60 3 2031 0014