Seven crew kidnapped in Gulf of Guinea

MSC TALIA F in Libreville, Gabon. Credit: IHS Markit AISLive ship tracking portal

The 11,815 dwt containership, MSC TALIA F, was boarded in the early hours of the morning on 22 March while on route from Lome, Togo, to Libreville Gabon, where pirates abducted seven crew members.

The Portuguese flagged vessel’s remaining 10 crew members, all Ukrainian citizens, continued sailing after the attack and arrived in Libreville a few hours later according to IHS Markit’s AISLive ship tracking portal.

The vessel had turned its AIS off for the three hours prior to the attack, a common counter piracy tactic to avoid detection, which had made the vessel hard to identify. Sources at maritime security consultancy Dryad Global confirmed the incident took place onboard the MSC TALIA F.

Despite worldwide focus on the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, it appears to be business as usual for piracy in West African waters. With the crew member still missing from the attack onboard the MT MINERVA VIRGO earlier this month, and the attack on the MAERSK TEMA while underway from Pointe Noire in February [insert links] it appears the Gulf of Guinea will remain a piracy hotspot for 2020 despite calls on behalf of Nigerian law enforcement agencies for further collaboration to combat this trend.

For more updates on the security situation in the Gulf of Guinea read the May issue of Safety at Sea.