Italian navy deter pirate attack off the Nigerian coast
LAGOS – An Italian frigate named ‘Luigi Rizzo’ intervened on Thursday following an attack on a merchant vessel in the Gulf of Guinea by a small fast moving vessel with armed men on board, according to an Italian Navy report. The ship was working in tandem with the Spanish Navy, and was conducting a surveillance patrol at the time.
When a Greek cargo ship at a distance of 100 nautical miles away radioed in distress, the frigate immediately scrambled its helicopter, and the pirates were driven back towards the coast.
In addition to the waters off Somalia, the western side of Africa also seems to be experiencing an increase in piracy, which comes at the detriment of commercial shipping, reports La Stampa.
On March 5, pirates attacked the vessel, ‘MT Minerva Virgo’. On March 21, the passenger vessel ‘Elobey VI’ was hijacked while sailing between Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, and three of the six crew were abducted, according security sources.
These incidences are just two of many over the past month, with many from over the last week having occured in the Gulf of Guinea, reports defenceweb.com
The International Maritime Bureau’s annual piracy report indicates that the number of ship’s crew kidnapped in the Gulf of Guinea has increased by over 50 per cent from 2018 and 2019, fitting into the general trend of more armed attacks on commercial vessels worldwide in 2019.