Royal Boskalis Westminster’s heavy transport vessel Blue Marlin was hijacked on May 5 approximately 80 nautical miles offshore Equatorial Guinea, the company said in a statement dated May 7.
After unloading cargo in the waters of Equatorial Guinea, Blue Marlin departed for Malta on May 5. On the afternoon of that day, the ship was unlawfully boarded by a rubber boat carrying several armed pirates.
All 20 crewmembers on Blue Marlin were able to secure themselves in the citadel, which is a highly secured area in the vessel equipped with communications gear and emergency rations.
Upon alerting the local authorities of Equatorial Guinea and the NATO mission Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade—Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG), two helicopters were immediately mobilised from Equatorial Guinea, followed by two vessels of the Equatorial Guinea and Spanish navies.
By daylight the following morning, Blue Marlin was boarded and fully searched by the two responding navy ships. No pirates were found and the Boskalis crew were freed from the citadel.
All 20 crewmembers are in good health, the company statement confirmed.
The pirates reportedly opened fire several times while they were aboard Blue Marlin and caused substantial material damage on the bridge, preventing the ship from being sailable.
After the freeing of Blue Marlin, the Spanish Navy vessel left on the afternoon of May 6, followed in the evening by the Equatorial Guinea vessel. The latter ship left five armed sailors on board Blue Marlin to deter future pirate attacks.
Boskalis has mobilised an oceangoing tug to take Blue Marlin to a safe location.