DRYAD Reporting indicates that the F/V LIBERTY GRACE (previously known as F/V SEA HONOR) reported a suspicious approach 174nm SW Abidjan. Reporting suggests that the vessel was approached to within 3nm by a blue speedboat.
The vessel is understood to have conducted evasive manoeuvres and increased her speed. The speedboat was lost from visual and radar after 20mins.
The crew and vessel are safe.
he precise nature of the incident remains unclear. Thus far there have been no tangible maritime security incidents in this location. Indeed, whilst low level maritime crime issues continue to occur within the major anchorages and ports in the area, deep offshore incidents of any kind remain highly irregular.
At this time the incident in question is not considered to be commensurate with an intended act of piracy. Despite an increase in incident reporting in waters beyond the Nigerian EEZ in 2020 and an increase in ‘out of area’ operations by Nigerian Pirate syndicates, there remains a high number of incidents that although suspicious, are not the result of piracy and do not ultimately pose a significant the threat to vessel and crew.
The area in question is known for the presence of vessels involved in Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing amongst other forms of illicit trade. In many instances vessels involved in such activities can often behave in a manner similar to that of a vessel with hostile intent.
If in doubt vessels are encouraged to conduct diagnostic action to verify the intentions of an approaching vessel or evasive manoeuvres if concern persists.