*11 personnel kidnapped
Lagos — The FPSO SENDJE BERGE has been attacked by unknown armed men with report indicating that up to 11 personnel may have been kidnapped from the vessel.
It is assessed that this attack is unique within the wider realm of off shore incidents within West Africa. Both the manner of attack and target are beyond the usual targeting and attack methodology of pirate action groups within Nigeria.
Reports indicated that explosives were used during the attack. Whilst unable to be verified, the use of such weapons particularly grenades and RPG’s, has thus far not been seen in wider piracy reporting in West Africa.
Within recent weeks a number of militant groupings within the Niger Delta have released statements condemning the actions of the federal government with a group operating under the auspices of the Coalition of the Niger Delta Agitators has publicly withdrawn its ceasefire that it previously negotiated with the federal government.
The kidnap of foreign personnel by groups involved in militancy is not unusual for the Niger Delta however is less common in the offshore domain. It remains highly likely that personnel will be held for ransom however if confirmed as an act of militancy negotiations are likely to also focus on political concessions tied into both the release of personnel and cessation of activity.
This latest attack, if confirmed brings the total number of kidnapped personal in maritime incidents within West Africa to 74 in 2020. Kidnap reporting within 2020 is currently tracking at 51% higher that that of 2019 across the same time period.