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06 Mar 2020 | 01:45 AM UTC

Benin: Vessel boarded while transiting south of Cotonou March 5

Unidentified individuals board a vessel as it was transiting south of Cotonou on March 5; one crewmember reportedly missing

security
transportation
BEN

Event

A group of unidentified men boarded a vessel approximately 80 km (43 nm) south of Cotonou in the Gulf of Guinea on the afternoon (local time) of Thursday, March 5. Most of the crewmembers were reportedly able to retreat into the citadel, leaving the vessel drifting until a Benin patrol boat approached. The attackers fled, reportedly kidnapping one of the crewmembers. Further details have not been released as of 07:45 on Friday, March 6.

Similar piracy incidents are possible in the region over the near term.

Context

On February 20, ten crewmembers were abducted by pirates from an oil tanker approximately 140 km (76 mi) southwest of Cotonou.

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.

Advice

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.