A crude oil tanker was attacked by pirates south of the Bonny Island Offshore Terminal on Tuesday, December 3. According to the owners of the ship, 19 foreign crewmembers were kidnapped by the attackers and their location remains unknown as of Wednesday, December 4. Initial reports indicate that the ship was targeted after loading up with crude oil and leaving the area without an escort. Several crew members were able to avoid capture and sailed the vessel to a safe location following the attack.
Similar piracy incidents are possible in the region over the near term.
The waters off of Nigeria's oil-rich coast have been a hotspot for piracy incidents over the past decade. Pirates often kidnap crew for ransom and sometimes siphon off the petroleum products.
Maritime travelers in the region are advised to remain vigilant for the approach of suspicious ships 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.