Piracy risk 'severe' as German multipurpose ship raided by armed men off Guinea


Shipowners have been warned the risk of pirate attacks is severe in West Africa after a raid on a German multipurpose (MPP) ship.

The 8,600-dwt Martina, operated by Jens & Waller Reederei, was boarded by a heavily armed gang at anchorage in Conakry, Guinea, on Wednesday morning.

Maritime security company Ambrey said three pirates roamed through the vessel, plundered it and fled, without hindrance.

The crew had retreated to the secure citadel and no injuries were reported.

The vessel was anchored about 16 nautical miles (29.6km) south of the port.

Jens & Waller has been contacted for further information.

Shortly after the attack, the Martina left the anchorage and moved further out to sea.

The ship had arrived at Conakry on 8 September.

Security company Diplaous Group said piracy reporting body MDAT GoG had first received a report that a ship had been boarded and robbed by armed assailants on Wednesday.

The company added: “Despite a recent downtrend in piracy activity in the Gulf of Guinea, the threat persists and the risk, particularly within the JWC-listed Area, is currently assessed as severe, indicating that incidents are highly likely and are expected weekly.”

Caution needed

The company added: “Extreme caution, along with BMP-West Africa measures are advised to be applied on commercial vessels when operating off other West African countries, such as Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, due to recent criminal activity in the area.”

In July, the ICC International Maritime Bureau reported that robbery incidents in the first six months of this year had fallen to their lowest level in 28 years.

A total of 58 raids were reported in the January to June 2022 period — the lowest total since 1994.

The IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre reported 55 vessels boarded, two attempted attacks and one vessel hijacked.

However, IMB director Michael Howlett warned that areas of risk shift and the shipping community must remain vigilant, and he encouraged governments and responding authorities to continue their patrols to create a deterrent effect.

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