Pirates attack Maersk containership in Niger Delta

Current position of the container ship, Maersk Tema in the port of Tema, Ghana. Credit: IHS Markit AISLive ship tracking portal

Pirates attacked the 5,466 teu Maersk Tema, as the vessel was underway from Pointe Noire, Republic of the Congo, to Lagos, West Africa on 14 February.

The Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) managed vessel was 170 nautical miles (315 km) south-west of Bayelsa, Nigeria, in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), when the incident took place.

BSM confirmed that the vessel was boarded by two pirates, however “All 21 crew members are safe and well aboard”. The company said the crew observed a suspicious approach from two skiffs and enacted emergency response procedures. Both the Nigerian and Portuguese navies attended the vessel’s request for assistance.

The Nigerian Navy carried out a full security sweep of the vessel and found no threats on board.  Security consultancy Ambrey said, “It has been verified that the pirates did board the containership and escaped before interdiction by authorities.”

According to IHS Markits’ AISLive ship tracking portal, the vessel is currently in the port of Tema, Ghana, and sustained no further incident in its journey

This latest incident emphasises the persistent piracy threat in the GoG with security broker Asket commenting that, “Mariners are advised to exercise extreme caution in this area.”