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MSC vessel is the latest to foil W. Africa pirate attack

MSC Elsa 3 became the latest vessel in a spate of attacks in the West Africa region. The ship was approached by a fast-moving small boat, which was deterred by onboard security who fired warning shots.

The Elsa 3 was heading to Port Harcourt from Lomé when the attack occurred, and although shots were fired, Container News understands that the crew were never in danger. A source said, “It is standard practice to carry security personnel in the region as there has been a flare-up of pirate activity in the area.”

According to security firm Dryad Global, the attack on Elsa 3 was the fourth offshore incident this year and the third recorded approach. The total number of incidents in the West African region during the last year showed an increase of 12% on those of 2019. Incidents involving failed approaches showed a significant increase within 2020 with 25 such incidents recorded against 10 in 2019.

The attempted attack on the Elsa 3 was the second this month with the Maersk Cardiff foiling two attempts to board the vessel in quick succession on 13 January. The crew of the Maersk Cardiff did, however, retreat to the citadel until security forces gave them the all-clear.

As a result of this incident, Maersk Line called for military protection for commercial vessels in the area and the Danish Government has been exploring ways of offering greater protection to vessels in the region, but as yet no concrete plan has emerged.

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