Reporting indicates that the Liberian flagged Heavy Load carrier ZHEN HUA 7 (IMO9166560) was boarded while drifting 78nm NW of Sao Tome resulting in the kidnap of 14 crew.
It is understood that 14 crew (Chinese nationals) have been kidnapped. The vessel is understood to have had a crew of 27 personnel. The vessel is inbound Sao Tome escorted by the Italian Naval vessel Frederico Martiningo.
This incident was the 8th offshore incident within the Gulf of Guinea within 9 days.
With the confirmation of the latest kidnapping there is a potential that the rate of incidents will decline in the short term. However, whilst it is not confirmed that the activity over the past 9 days was perpetuated by a single PAG the risk profile for all vessels operating within the region has remains at CRITICAL, with attacks assessed as highly likely / expected daily.
This incident is the 21st kidnapping within the Gulf of Guinea within 2020 and the total number of crews kidnapped from vessels throughout the area in 2020 is 110.
All vessels operating within the area are encouraged to operate at the highest levels of vigilance and deploy full hardening/mitigation measures where possible. The risk profile for the wider Gulf of Guinea region at this time is CRITICAL, with attacks assessed as highly likely/expected daily.