Six pirates arrested after attack on Epic Gas ship

Attempted boarding took place off Takoradi in Ghana

A group of pirates has been held by Ghanaian forces after an attempted raid on an Epic Gas LPG carrier on Thursday.

The six men were seen trying to board the 7,223-cbm Epic Bermuda (built 2003) 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km) east of Takoradi, according to a security consultancy.

Reports suggest that during the initial attempt the officer on watch noticed the perpetrators and sounded the alarm.

He then started the ship’s engines and tried to manoeuvre the vessel so as to disrupt the attempt.

A small pirate boat was said to have then headed off in the direction of another vessel about 0.6 nautical miles away.

But the skiff is reported to have returned later and a patrol vessel then arrested the men.

Crew members on the LPG carrier were reported to be safe.

Third incident in area this year

Singapore owner Epic Gas has been contacted for further information.

Security consultancy said this is the fourth incident in the waters off Takoradi this year, and the third within 3 nautical miles of the port.

There were three attacks around the port in the whole of 2019.

“Whilst there has been one offshore incident reported at 60 nautical miles, the concentration of incidents in this location remain assessed as opportunistic boardings for the purposes of theft occurring within the anchorage areas,”security consultancy added.

“Vessels are advised to maintain vigilance when calling at Takoradi and in light of the increase in recorded incidents, are encouraged to employ appropriate vessel ‘hardening’ so as to deter such incidents.”

The last major pirate incident in West Africa took place a little over a week ago.

The 4,957-teu Tommi Ritscher (built 2014) was boarded by gunmen at anchor off Cotonou.

A rescue mission by Nigerian forces off Benin found no trace of eight seafarers reported missing from the Maersk-chartered boxship. They were later confirmed to have been kidnapped.

Source: TradeWinds