Reports surfaced today of a possible approach of a tanker at sea off Ghana by suspected pirates. While incidents are common in the Gulf of Guinea, this location is outside the normal area of operations.
Dryad reports that there have been no previous incidents of vessels boarded or kidnappings within this area. However, there have been several incidents in the waters off Ghana creating additional warnings for mariners operating in the region.
In this latest incident, the Maritime Awareness Center reports an approach by a small vessel. The incident took place approximately 74 nautical miles southeast of Takoradi. The vessel that is believed to have been targeted is the tanker Hafnia Phoenix, a seven-year-old Danish flagged tanker. The vessel, which measures 600 feet in length, was sailing from Lome, Togo to Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
A speedboat believed to be carrying eight people approached the tanker and reports say that a ladder could be seen in the small boat. The tanker increased speed and took evasive maneuvers. It was able to leave the area without further incident.
Three weeks ago, Dryad reported another incident in the area. That time the Marshall Island-flagged oil tanker Pike was approximately 114 nautical miles southeast of Tema, Ghana when a small boat approached and attempted a boarding with a ladder. There were reportedly six to eight people aboard the small boat. In that incident, the tanker was also able to escape the boarding by taking evasive actions.
At the time, Dryad’s analysis reported that this was the seventh incident in the water off Ghana in 2020, but the first deep water incident in 2020. They reported that it represented an increase in these types of activity in the area. Activity of this nature is generally lower level petty theft boarding ships at anchor or in port in Ghana. While kidnappings are unusual in the area there were reports around the same time that two people were taken from a Ghana-flagged fishing vessel.
Mariners are warned to take caution in the entire region and be aware of the increase in approaches that have happened in this particular zone.