Tanker goes missing off Angola

Most southerly pirate attack yet

A 75,000-tonne tanker has been reported missing of the coast of Angola, west Africa. The Kerala was last seen seven miles north west of Luanda, the capital and principal port last Friday, 17 January. If the missing vessel is confirmed as having been hijacked, it will make this the most southerly act of piracy to date.

Dryad Maritime, a specialist maritime intelligence company helping seafarers to manage threats from piracy, suspects that the tug’s disappearance may represent a significant increase in crime in the Gulf of Guinea region, most probably from Nigerian gangs.

Ian Millen, Dryad’s director of intelligence, said: “This is a worrying development in west African maritime crime. We have been watching Nigerian-based pirates launch an increasing number of attacks on vessels in areas not normally associated with piracy of late. If substantiated, this latest incident demonstrates a significant extension of the reach of criminal groups and represents a threat to shipping in areas that were thought to be safe.”  

Pirates have already boarded the tanker Super League off the coast of Equatorial Guinea and Gabon earlier this month.