Pirates kidnap ten crew off Lagos

Position and tracking of the Vemahope. Credit: IHS Markit AISLive ship tracking portal

Armed assailants have kidnapped 10 crew members of product tanker Vemahope, 116 nautical miles from the West Agbami Terminal, Lagos, Nigeria.

The attackers, travelling by speedboat, were able to board the Panama flagged vessel on 30 April to carry out the kidnapping.

According to the IHS Markit AISLive ship tracking portal, the Vemahope was attacked while on route to the Moudi Terminal, Cameroon, after having previously carried out a ship-to-ship transfer operation at Lome, Togo.

Despite the outbreak of COVID-19, West Africa remains a piracy hotspot and currently takes the lead in most seafarer kidnaps this year. According to the International Maritime Bureau Q1 piracy report, 17 crew members were kidnapped in the Gulf of Guinea out of 22 globally. This latest incident brings the total kidnap figure in West African waters to 42 in 2020, and the region may even surpass its Q2 2019 record of 62 kidnappings.