Bloomberg news service is reporting today that a container ship owned by A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S was attacked as it left the Tema Harbour on Saturday, December 19, 2020.
Maersk has therefore issued a red alert of dangerous pirate activities off the coast of West Africa.
“The Maersk Cadiz was boarded by “criminals” on Saturday at about 2:30 p.m. Nigeria time while traveling from Tema in Ghana to Kribi in Cameroon, Maersk said in a statement. Nigerian naval ships have arrived to help the vessel, which can transport the equivalent of as many as 4,500 twenty-foot containers,” Bloomberg reported.
According to reports, all 21 crew have been confirmed as safe, and the vessel has been secured, a spokeswoman for Copenhagen-based Maersk said.
The ship was carrying cargo when attacked.
The boarding of the Maersk Cadiz follows an attack on another Maersk container ship near the West African nation of Guinea in February.
The West African coast has overtaken Southeast Asia last year as the worst piracy and kidnappings hotspot at sea, with the number of seafarers seized rising by more than 50%, according to a study.
Despite a global decline in piracy in 2019, reports have it that attacks have continued in the Gulf of Guinea this year, especially off Nigeria’s coast.
“We are very concerned about the increased security risk from armed attacks on merchant vessels in the area,” Maersk Chief Technical Officer Palle Laursen said in a statement. “The risk has reached a level where local governments and the international community must take action to deal effectively with an unacceptable situation.”
The continued attacks may stall trade to most West African countries including Ghana which heavily depends on import duties to bolster its economy.
A few months ago, there were reports that conspirators at the Jubilee House were in on the nefarious sea activities, as several flagged vessels were offloading stolen petroleum through the Tema harbour from Nigeria.
The head of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Col. Kwadwo Damoah has been fingered as a culprit and has been caught on tape alleging that the entire racket was hatched from the Jubilee House.
Col Damoah has been strangely quiet about the secret tape recording of him linking the Jubilee House to the fuel smuggling ring.