The year 2020 has proved to be a critical year also on the maritime security front, namely in West Africa. Indeed, the Annual IMB ICC Report for 2020 shows a 40% increase in the number of kidnappings reported in the Gulf of Guinea in the first nine months of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. December 2020 was a particular intense period, with five separate piracy incidents were reported in the last three weeks of the month alone. And it is considered that several others took place, although not reported to the authorities.
On 15 December, MT New Ranger, was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, 160 nautical miles south-west of Brass As failed attacks continue, perpetrators are highly likely to increase in desperation. The day after, the general cargo ship STEVIA was boarded by pirates in Gulf of Guinea southwest of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Eight crew members were kidnapped.
On 18 December, the LNG LAGOS II, a cargo ship was attacked in the Gulf of Guinea south-west of Port Harcourt, Nigeria and a few hours after, the Singaporean-flagged container ship Maersk Cadiz was boarded by gunmen while underway off West Africa. On 21 December, Port Gdynia, a container ship operated by CMA CGM CMA CGM, escaped a pirate attack in the Gulf of Guinea, 95 nautical miles (175 km) south of the Nigerian port of Brass. In all three incidents, the crew was reportedly not harmed and is safe back on land.
As failed attacks continue, pirates are likely to keep acting and temping boarding, namely at night when large vessels are more vulnerable to fast and small skiffs attacks.