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Nigeria Rescues Oil Tanker From High-Seas Pirates

The Nigerian Navy has rescued an oil tanker from pirates near Bonny Island, even as the number of high-seas hijackers is at an 18-year low, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

Nigerian Navy Captain Sulieman Dahun said the naval forces rescued the MT Gas Providence oil tanker, which came under pirate attack on Wednesday in River State, just off Bonny Island.

The vessels 21 crew members were rescued after sending off a distress signal received by the Navy.

It was the second failed hijacking attempt in the area this week. A Nigerian naval vessel also thwarted at a pirate attack on a second oil tanker, MT Rio Spirit.

In 2016, there were 36 recorded incidences of high-seas piracy in Nigeria—more than double the number of incidences the year before. There has also been an increase of high-seas kidnappings in Nigeria.

That said, from a global perspective, the new attacks come at a time of dwindling piracy on the high seas, with the number of pirates at a low not seen in nearly two decades, according to the IMB. Related: Time Bomb In Oil Markets: Goldman Sachs Issues Warning

At the same time, the number of kidnappings for ransom on the high seas has increased as pirates change their modus operandi. Globally, 62 people were kidnapped from vessels and held for ransom last year, which represents a three-fold increase from 2015.

For all of last year, the IMB recorded a total of 191 incidences of high-seas piracy, down from 246 incidences the previous year. The last time the number of high-seas attacks has been this low was in 1998.

In late January, International Maritime Organization Secretary-General Ki-Tack Lim told the American Media Institute that globally, high-seas piracy in on a downward trend thanks to improved coordination of security efforts, including the NATO-led anti-piracy effort off the Horn of Africa—Operation Ocean Shield.

By Damir Kaletovic for Oilprice.com

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