According to the navy of Nigeria, an oil tanker was attacked and then seized by pirates off the coast of Lagos, the biggest port in Nigeria. The pirates also kidnapped a number of sailors who were on the ship but trying to hide. The ship, the MT Abu Dhabi Star, sent out distress signals Tuesday night and the final message from the ship said that the sailors had taken cover in a panic room. Commodore Kabir Aliyu announced the information about the attack.
The tanker is operated by Pioneer Ship Management Services LLC. Pirate attacks have happened often off the coast of Togo, with two happening recently. In those attacks, the members of the ships’ crews were released without injury after the pirates stole gasoline or oil. Attacks by pirates have been occurring more frequently along the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa.
Those monitoring the piracy situation in West Africa believe that hijackings of tanker ships could be done by a criminal gang that knows the oil industry and how oil tanker ships work. If it is the work of a single gang, they could have acquired their experience in Niger Delta. In Niger Delta, thieves steal hundreds of thousands of barrels per day of oil by tapping into pipelines.