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Pirate Attacks On Oil Tankers Off West Africa Intensify

Several oil tankers were attacked or approached with attempted attacks in the Gulf of Guinea off West Africa over the past few days, maritime security companies warn.

Over the past six days, five such incidents took place in the area, in which four tankers were attacked by pirates, and one was approached while underway with the intent to attack, maritime security company Dryad Global said on Tuesday, warning of a critical risk for mariners in the Gulf of Guinea.

Over the weekend, the Torm Alexandra was attacked offshore Benin, and the Wesley tanker was attacked south of Escravos offshore Nigeria. On Monday, the Bob Barker tanker was approached south of Cotonou offshore Benin, and on Tuesday, La Boheme was attacked in the same area, according to Praesidium International.

La Boheme, under the flag of the Marshall Islands, was the latest oil tanker to come under attack in the area when it was attacked by two skiffs on Tuesday.

On Monday, reporting indicated that the vessel Bob Barker was approached by a skiff with seven or eight armed persons on board, Dryad Global said.

“With a further failed attempt it is highly likely that the perpetrators will increase in desperation in their attempts to secure their objective which remains most likely the kidnapping of crew for ransom. As such the risk profile for the region is to be considered CRITICAL at this time with incidents assessed as highly likely / expected within days,” Dryad Global noted, as carried by safety4sea.com.

Over the weekend, the Italian frigate Martinengo assisted the oil product vessel Torm Alexandra in disrupting a pirates’ attack on the Singapore-flagged tanker, the Italian Navy said in a statement. A Navy team released by helicopter cleared the vessel allowing the crew to regain possession and keep navigating safely. The Italian frigate operated in coordination with the Benin Navy, and the crew of the vessel is safe, the Italian Navy said.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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