The New York times are reporting that on Sunday 3rd February off the coast of ivory coast, pirates believed to be Nigerians have seized a French ship.
The seizure of the tanker, registered in Luxembourg, likely took place Sunday, said Noel Choong, a spokesman for the International Maritime Bureau, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He added that the seizure may be tied to a recent series of attacks by pirates operating in the Gulf of Guinea, where patrols, particularly off the Ivory Coast, are scarce.
“It’s an ongoing attack,” Mr. Choong said. “It’s still going on.”
In a telephone interview, Mr. Choong said that, once they seize a ship, the pirates in the area typically take it to the coast off Nigeria, where they siphon off all its fuel, and then steal all the valuables from crew members and from the ship. Such operations typically last five or six days and can net the pirates millions of dollars, he said.
Mr. Choong said that he hoped the increasing frequency of attacks would prompt greater vigilance by the government of the Ivory Coast.
“We are hoping they will increase patrols,” he said. “We don’t have the sorts of patrols along the Ivory Coast” that are common in other areas and serve to deter such attacks.
The attack was the most serious in a series of raids by pirates recently.
On Monday a sailor was shot as pirates tried to hijack a ship off the coast of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, Mr. Choong said. And last week, pirates fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a tanker off the Nigerian coast during an hourlong chase, but the tanker was able to evade the pursuing skiffs.