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Hijacked ‘Maersk Tema’ en route to Lagos, situation unclear

PortandTerminal.com, February 16, 2020

According to local media in Nigeria, the ‘Maersk Tema’, which was hijacked Friday morning, has already been liberated. However, the news has not yet been formally confirmed.

LOME, NIGERIA – Yesterday the Maersk Tema container vessel was reportedly attacked and boarded by pirates around 170 miles off the coast of Nigeria. Two unknown men are believed to have boarded the vessel and two skiffs were seen in the vicinity of the attack. 

The container vessel, owned and operated by the charter company Peter Döhle Schiffart and Bernhard Schulte ship Management, was underway from Pointe Noir to Lagos at the time of the attack.

READ: Yet another ship attacked by pirates in Gulf of Guinea. Enough is enough

Today there are conflicting reports about the vessel’s status. Local media says that it has been “liberated”, but international reports including Lloyd’s List are reporting (paywall on link) that the vessel is now adrift in the Gulf of Guinea.

Adding to the confusion is the name of the vessel “Maersk Tema”. The Maersk Group in Copenhagen, Denmark, says that despite the name, the ship that was attacked was not one of their ships.

You got that right Lucky

Nigerian man in blue suit seated at his desk
Lucky Amiwero, Head of the Nigerian National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Licensed Agents

Sensing the international maritime community’s exasperation with the surge of piracy in Nigeria’s waters, The head of the National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Licensed Agents (NCMDCLA) in Nigera, Mr. Lucky Amiwero, has called on the Federal Government to set up a “special committee made up of professionals to offer advice on maritime security”.

“Piracy attacks on our waters do not portray the country well in terms of security, because of the insurance premium and the tendency for people to abandon our shores,” 

Lucky Amiwero, Nigerian National Council of Managing Directors of Customs Licensed Agents

Amiwero insisted that maritime security was not a matter for Senators to handle but professionals in the security field needed to be brought in to advise the government on security measures to be deployed.

Many in the maritime community are saying enough is enough. Ships transitting the Gulf of Guinea need immediate armed protection against pirates in the region. Guns, for now at least, are the answer until Mr. Lucky Amiwero, his special committee and the Nigerian government get a handle on the situation.

And finally, with regards to the Maersk Tema hijacking, at this point, all that is known for certain is that there has been yet another pirate attack in the Gulf of Guinea and nothing seems being done to stop them.

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