Fifteen seafarers have been kidnapped from a Maltese-flagged vessel identified as MT Davide B some 213 nautical miles off South Cotonou, Benin, Dryad Global reports.
The kidnapped individuals formed part of a total of 21-member crew including Ukrainian, Romanian and Philippine nationals.
According to Dryad, the incident occurred on March 11 and is understood to have involved the vessel being boarded by 9 armed individuals.
“The incident appears to have occurred 9nm SE of the edge of the Nigerian EEZ and is near to where a number of vessels will look to RV with Nigerian SEV,” Dryad said.
“Vessels within this area are at a unique vulnerability in that they are generally operating within waters beyond the operational footprint of regional security forces.”
Within 2020 there were 5 incidents inclusive of kidnapping that occurred within 30nm of the reported incident.
The urgency of the situation has been underlined by the attack on the container ship Mozart on 23 January 2021, which resulted in a fatality and the kidnapping of 15 seafarers.
Specifically, one seafarer, of Azeri origin, was shot dead in the incident after a group of pirates breached into the citadel where the seafarers had been hiding.
The seafarers have been rescued after the shipowner paid the ransom to the pirates. Recounting their captivity, the seafarers pointed to grueling conditions while being kept in a forest under constant threat of being killed if their company fails to pay for ransom.
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