Another hijacked vessel with 23 crew members onboard in Lagos

By Piracy

Kuala Lumpur: Pirates have hijacked a Singaporean oil tanker in the Nigerian port of Lagos - this is the 3rd attack in just over the last 2 weeks in the Gulf of Guinea.
The ship that had twenty-three crew members onboard, was laden with fuel, the bureau of Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre informed, adding that the pirates had been sailing the vessel into the open sea.
It is not said how the pirates hijacked the oil tanker on Tuesday evening.
“We have warned the Nigerian marine authorities who are taking action,” Noel Choong who is the head of the IMB's Malaysia-based piracy information centre told in his statement.
The staff had locked themselves in a safe room onboard of the hijacked vessel, told Choong, who added: “We are concerned about the safety of the sailors and the spate of hijackings,” he told.
Pirates hijacked and looted 2 oil tankers off nearby Togo last month. The 2 vessels and all the crew were later released.
Choong also told the same criminal syndicate might be behind the latest hijackings since the modus operandi was the initial.
“They would seize the vessel for about 5 days — ransack the crew members' cabin and syphon the oil to another pirate ship,” he stated.
The IMB has repeatedly warned vessel plying the Gulf of Guinea off the west coast of Africa to be vigilant and called on authorities to step up patrols, informing last year the area was emerging as a new piracy “hot spot.”
The zone has seen thirty-seven attacks, which includes some hijackings, kidnappings and killings, so far this year. Pirates generally target cargo, loading it onto other vessels to sell on the black market.
Nigeria and nearby Benin released joint patrols last year in a bid to avoid the hijackings.