Separate pirate attacks on two commercial vessels in the Gulf of Guinea occurred within hours of each other on Thursday, March 5.
In the first incident, the Greek-flagged chemical tanker Minerva Virgo (pictured) was attacked by half a dozen armed men 72 kilometres south of Cotonou, Benin, at around 15:00 local time on Thursday. The perpetrators reportedly abducted one crewmember, who has been identified as a Filipino national.
The tanker had earlier departed Ijmuiden in the Netherlands and was en route to Nigeria’s Port of Lagos when it was boarded by the pirates.
In the second incident, the Hong Kong-flagged cargo vessel Huanghai Glory was boarded 136 kilometres south of Lagos at 18:20 local time. The crew managed to lock themselves up in the vessel’s citadel and send out a distress call as the perpetrators looted the cabins and service compartments.
A Nigerian Navy patrol boat was despatched the following day to Huanghai Glory‘s last reported position to render assistance to the entire 23-strong crew, who were all reported to be safe.
The cargo ship’s crew had not responded to the Nigerian authorities’ contact requests during the first 24 hours following the incident, prompting the deployment of the patrol boat to check on their condition.
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