Pirates attack Greek oil tanker off Nigeria
Lagos, Nigeria (4E) – Pirates attacked a Greek-owned oil tanker off Nigeria Friday, but were unsuccessful in their attempts to hijack the ship after the crew hid in a safe room, the International Maritime Bureau reported.
The tanker was anchored off Lagos when armed pirates boarded early Friday.
After locking themselves into the safe room, the 23 crew members sent out a distress call that was received by the IMB.
The Nigerian navy and other warships patrolling the area were alerted and responded.
Safe rooms have become common on vessels used by shipping firms to protect crews and spoil pirate attacks.
The pirates were believed to be after the ship’s cargo. They aborted their plan when they were unable enter the safe room.
Crews of other ships off West Africa were warned to be observant and cautious as the area remains risky.
Some 21 attacks in the Gulf of Guinea off the west coast of Africa have occurred this year, with four vessels hijacked. Two seafarers have been killed, two injured and three kidnapped, according to officials.
Unlike hijackings off the coast of Somalia on the opposite side of the continent, West African gangs have not demanded ransoms. Instead, they seize cargo and transfer the stolen load onto other ships to sell on the black market.
Last year, Nigeria and nearby Benin launched joint patrols to tackle the problem