The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) reported on Thursday that the Singapore-flagged vessel, Success 9, which was boarded by pirates on Monday around 570km off the Ivory Coast, has been uncontactable by its owner.
The chemical and oil product tanker is owned by HS Ocean and had 20 crew members on board, including one Singaporean.
The MPA said that it has been working closely with the ship’s owner, the Monrovia Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, and the Changi Command and Control Centre’s Information Fusion Centre to monitor the situation and render the necessary assistance.
However, there are no further details on the situation at this time.
The Ivory Coast authorities have deployed their air and sea assets to the vicinity of the last known position of the vessel.
“The authorities in the region have been informed, including the Ivory Coast and Ghanaian authorities,” the MPA added.
Meanwhile, the Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea, a joint maritime monitoring effort by France and Britain, has urged vessels in the vicinity to report any sightings of the ship or any suspicious activity.
Security company Ambrey said to Tradewind that the ship’s AIS transmissions stopped at 1425 UTC, 25 minutes after the incident reportedly started.
At the time, the vessel was drifting with an estimated 2.1m freeboard.
“Ambrey understands that the vessel routinely engages in ship-to-ship operations with commercial fishing vessels and other bunker tanker operators in West Africa,” the company said.
“The apparent modus operandi and the target aligned with a pattern of recent attacks on merchant vessels operating in the regional bunker trade. These have involved extended duration robberies,” Ambrey added.
Piracy has long been a risk in the Gulf of Guinea, a major shipping route stretching 5,700km from Senegal to Angola, with Nigerian gangs carrying out most attacks.
However, since 2021, shippers say pirates have been raiding further out in international waters, with their violence and sophisticated tactics prompting pleas from shippers for a more robust foreign naval presence in the area.
“It appears serious attacks are increasing in the Gulf of Guinea. We hope more international warships with helicopter facilities will be able to patrol the area,” said Noel Choong of the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting centre to AFP on Wednesday.