According to local officials, pirates stormed four boats off the Gabonese coast, near Libreville, overnight on Sunday, December 22. During the attack, a Gabonese captain was killed and four Chinese nationals have been kidnapped. As of Monday, December 23, the whereabouts of the victims remain unknown. Gabonese security forces have engaged actions in order to secure the area and find the perpetrators.
While pirate attacks are unusual off the Gabonese coasts, the Gulf of Guinea has been a hotspot for piracy incidents over the past decade. According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), between January and September 2019, 82 percent of world-wide piracy-linked attacks took place in the Gulf of Guinea. Pirates usually kidnap crew for ransom or steal the boat's merchandise.
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.