Pirates kidnap passenger from ferry off Cameroon

Six gunmen in speed boat board passenger vessel off Limbe, abducting one person

A pirate gang has abducted a passenger from a ferry off Cameroon.

The incident took place five nautical miles (9 km) off Limbe on Thursday morning.

The vessel was said to be underway off the port when it was approached and boarded by at least six people in a single speed boat.

The kidnapped passenger was later seen being taken towards the Bakassi peninsula.

Cameroonian authorities have been informed.

There were two passenger vessels in the immediate vicinity at the time: the St Vincent & Grenadines-flagged 22-metre FCS Maylis and the 24-metre Spanish-registered Yanu Mabel.

The report also noted that two vessels also in the area during the attack had already been the subject of pirate raids in the last few weeks.

Raided tankers nearby

The first was Eastern Mediterranean’s 51,400-dwt tanker Happy Lady (built 2013), from which eight crew were kidnapped off Cameroon in December.

They were released last week following “successful negotiations”, the Greek coastguard said.

The other was Union Maritime’s 19,100-dwt Duke (built 2003), from which 20 Indian seafarers were taken, also in December.

One of the crew members died from an unspecified illness in captivity, but the other 19 were freed earlier this month.

The ferry raid brings to an end a quieter period in the Gulf of Guinea, following a hiatus in a series of kidnappings and attempted boardings over recent months.

The last reported attack involved a group of 15 pirates pursuing and firing on an MSC-operated multipurpose ship off Nigeria on 21 January.

The 24,000-dwt MSC Grace (built 1991) was en route from Lagos to Port Harcourt at 12 knots when it was attacked 18 nautical miles (33 kn) south of Bayelsa.

Source: TradeWinds