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Pirates kill naval officer; kidnap 5 sailors in Niger Delta

According to the ICC IMB's Piracy Report, Nigerian pirates kidnapped five crewmembers from an OSV in the Gulf of Guinea last weekend despite the efforts of a security escort vessel.

 After an active firefight between the escort and the attackers, pirates boarded the target vessel, ransacked its cabins and made off with the victims. 

At about 1115 hours UTC on Saturday, at a position about 30 nm off Brass, Nigeria, armed pirates in two speed boats approached an OSV under way. The OSV's captain called for help from what IMB ICC described as a "naval escort security boat," which maneuvered to engage the attackers. One speed boat closed in from port side of the vessel and crossed the bow, while the other speed boat exchanged fire with the security boat. 

 “Alarm was raised and the crew went to the engine room, while all power was shut down. The pirates boarded the vessel with the aid of an elongated ladder and broke into the accommodation, vandalized the cabins and took crew belongings and vessel’s properties,” IMB Piracy Reporting Centre said in a note it issued on Wednesday. 

It said the attackers thereafter proceeded to the engine room of the vessel, kidnapped five men and escaped, while the remaining crew members sailed the vessel under escort to a safe anchorage.

Nigeria forbids the presence of embarked private maritime security contractors at its seaports. This effectively prohibits Gulf of Guinea vessel operators from using on-board armed guards, which have proven successful in deterring pirates in the high-risk area off Somalia. Instead, Nigeria permits private contractors to provide for-hire Security Escort Vessel (SEV) services using civilian boats and armed Nigerian Navy active duty servicemembers. According to one well-regarded security services firm, this system has historically been challenged by "extremely high costs and issues of poor performance and reliability."


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