Maritime Security

Marshall Islands Flagged Tanker Captured by Pirates Off Nigeria

The Marshall islands-flagged vessel MT Cape Bird was hijacked around 90 nautical miles from Lagos on Saturday 8 October.  The tanker belongs to United Product Tankers GmbH & Co. KG from Hamburg, Germany.

There are believed to be 20 crewmembers onboard when the vessel was hijacked off the coast of Nigeria.

The Nigerian Navy reported that the vessel was carrying either crude oil or refined gasoline.  Nigerian Navy vessels have orders to stop the tanker if they find it and to arrest the hijackers.

Unlike vessels hijacked by Somali pirates in some cases held for over a year it is believed that the tanker will be freed within days.  Vessels hijacked off the West coast of Africa normally are targeted for their cargo unlike those taken by Somali pirates who hold out for long periods until a ransom is paid.  The average ransom payment has risen to $4 million USD for the release of a ship off the lawless coast of Somalia.

London-based Lloyd’s Market Association, an umbrella group of insurers, listed Nigeria, neighbouring Benin and nearby waters in the same risk category as Somalia, in August this year.