A crude oil tanker transiting south of Cotonou was boarded by armed men on Thursday, February 20. The vessel was targeted approximately 140 km (76 mi) southwest of Cotonou. According to media reports, communication with the vessel was cut off after an alert was sent by the tanker. At least ten members of the crew were abducted. Further details regarding the incident have not been released as of Thursday.
Similar piracy incidents are possible in the region over the near term.
There is a high risk of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. According to a report released in July by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), 82 percent of hostage-takings took place in the Gulf of Guinea between January and September 2019.
Maritime travelers in the region are advised to remain vigilant for suspicious approaches while aboard vessels, monitor developments to the regional security environment, and report all incidents to the nearest authorities. Pirates and other criminals are often armed; do not resist if confronted.