Friday, June 6, 2014

Global Impact: Greek Tanker, Liberia-Flagged "MT Fair Artemis," Carrying a Crew of 24, Hijacked Off Ghanian Coast on June 4

According to AFP, a Greek tanker carrying a crew of 24 is believed to have been hijacked off Ghana in the Gulf of Guinea, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said Friday (June 6).

The Liberia-flagged MT Fair Artemis lost contact with its owners on Wednesday (June 4) off Ghana's capital of Accra, IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based Piracy Reporting Center reported. 

"It's an area where pirates hijack vessels, mostly for the cargo," a spokesperson said.

COMMENT: West African maritime piracy made up 19% of attacks worldwide last year, according to the IMB, with Nigerian pirates accounting for 31 of the region's 51 attacks -- the most since 2008.

Few pirate attacks, however, have occurred in Ghana's territorial waters patrolled by the country's navy with just one incident last year.

International navies are also jointly patrolling the West African coast.

They already played a key role in curbing pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa off the coast of lawless Somalia, where a spate of cargo ships was hijacked and ransomed for months and even years, with the peak in 2011.