A vessel which left Lagos for Port Harcourt was attacked while advancing South-west of Bonny Island.
The vessel (Drogba) was attacked on December 30. ‘Drogba’ was en route from Lagos to Port Harcourt when it was attacked by armed pirates in a speedboat within 48 nautical miles off Bonny.
According to the management, the alarm was raised and the crew retreated into the citadel. The Nigerian Naval Team rescued the ‘Drogba’ after they exchanged gunfire with the pirates. The pirates withdrew and fled the area. Subsequently, the ‘Drogba’ proceeded to a safe anchorage at Bonny.
This is about the second time in December that pirates would attack a vessel off the coast of Bonny Island.
On December 5, pirates attacked a Greek-owned oil tanker off Bonny taking 19 hostages.
According to the management of the vessel named Nave Constellation, it was attacked about 142 kilometres or 77 nautical miles off Bonny.
Eight Indians and one Turk from the crew were seized, according to Thursday’s joint statement from the tanker’s operators, the Greece-based Navios and the Hong Kong-based Anglo-Eastern Tanker Management.
Seven crew members remained on board and were told to take the loaded vessel to a safer position, the statement said. The Hong Kong-flagged supertanker is capable of carrying up to 2m barrels of oil.
An increasing incidence of piracy has been a subject of great concern in the maritime industry.
According to the International Maritime Bureau, the  Gulf of Guinea accounts for about 82 per cent of crew kidnappings in the world adding that  Nigeria had reported more attacks than any other country.
“Recently, there has been a noticeable increase in attacks/hijackings/kidnapping of crews off these areas,” the bureau said of Nigeria.
It added that the pirates, often well-armed, in many instances have seized ships for many days, ransacking them for fuel.
“Generally, all waters in/off Nigeria remain risky,” the IMB said, noting that many attacks may have gone unreported.
IMB records show pirates kidnapped 27 crew members in the first half of 2019 alone, and one in four global piracy incidents in 2018 happened within Nigeria’s territorial waters, according to international insurance carrier Allianz Global.
The trend is said to have led to an increase in the cost of doing business along the GoG.
A non-profit organisation, Oceans Beyond Piracy, was quoted by Al Jazeera to have stated in a report that the economic cost of piracy in West Africa in 2017 was $818.1m – up from $793.7m the year before.
Nearly a quarter of that $818.1m was spent contracting maritime security, according to the organisation.

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