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Pirates Board Another Tanker off Cote d’Ivoire

Warnings indicate that another product tanker working as a bunker vessel was boarded off Cote d’Ivoire (file photo)

Security services issued a warning at midday for an ongoing piracy incident on another product tanker this time in the northern reaches of the Gulf of Guinea near Cote d’Ivoire. This attack is likely in a similar position to where another tanker was boarded at the beginning of 2023 but far away from the position where a Danish-owned tanker was assaulted just over two weeks ago.

The British-French monitoring effort Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) issued a warning saying that it believed an unknown number of individuals had boarded a product tanker about 300 nautical miles to the south of Abidjan. They are classifying it as an ongoing situation with no additional details being provided.

Security consultants Praesidium issued a piracy attack security incident report saying that the boarding was believed to have happened around 1400 UTC. They are identifying the vessel as the Singapore-flagged Success 9. According to the Equasis database, the vessel is a 6,135 dwt product tanker owned by HS Ocean of Singapore. AIS data appears to indicate the vessel was laying off Abidjan at least since late March.

Praesidium analyzed available data reporting that the Success 9’s speed started to drop at around 0600. By 1425 they believe the vessel was drifting when the AIS transmission was lost. They are speculating that this is the time that the perpetrators took control.

The latest incident is believed to be one of several where pirates are boarding bunker tankers in the area to steal oil. Praesidium believes the Success 9 has been operating in the region for some time likely as a bunker vessel. Another product tanker, the 5,700 dwt B. Ocean owned by South Korean interests was attacked several times over the course of 2022 and the beginning of 2023. Each time the pirates stole oil and damaged the ship’s equipment before leaving. The Italian Navy reported assisting the vessel after it was boarded in November 2022. In these incidents the crew was unharmed.

Due to the distance from shore of the vessel during this current boarding, EOS Risk Group is also warning that the danger could be continuing in the region. They highlight that it is likely that a mothership was used to launch the attack, as it is beyond the normal range of the skiffs. As such, it is possible that the mothership remains in the area. It might be able to launch other assaults or being remaining in the area to receive the stolen cargo. MDAT-GoG is also warning of increased risk in the region during this ongoing incident.

Last month, pirates boarded another tanker further south along the African west coast near Congo. Unlike those other incidents, they commandeered the vessel which went missing for several days. They kidnapped several crewmembers when they abandoned the vessel. Those crewmembers remain unaccounted for with the authorities and shipping company Monjasa reporting they were working to secure the release of the missing crew.

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