Pirates had never attacked so far out at sea. Thirteen Russian and Ukrainian sailors were taken hostage 350 kilometers off the coast of Benin last weekend. This attack is another illustration of how dangerous it is for crews in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea.
Sailors are increasingly reluctant to sail in the Gulf of Guinea. Pirates no longer simply steal goods or oil, they no longer hesitate to attack crews. They attack with Kalashnikov-type weapons. Hostage-taking can last up to eight weeks and ship owners have to pay ransoms to free the sailors…
This weekend’s attack is the most serious incident in the last eight months. Never before have pirates attacked so far off the coast, a sign that they have new means at their disposal, according to experts. According to the Greek company to which the boat belongs, the MV Curacao Trader “is currently adrift, with a limited number of crew members”.
Since the beginning of 2020, nearly 80 sailors have already been abducted off Nigeria, Benin and Gabon. In total, more than 90% of seafarer kidnappings take place in the Gulf of Guinea according to the BMI, the International Maritime Bureau. The director of this organization calls for the protection of crews at all costs. According to him, all ships are now targets of piracy.