Malabo, Equatorial Guinea — Reporting indicates that the LNG tanker, Methane Princess (IMO9253715) has been boarded whilst at anchor off Malabo and two persons taken hostage.
The vessel was attacked shortly after breaking off loading operations. The alarm was sounded and all on deck were able to retreat to citadel. 2 Filipino nationals were on the jetty and both were taken hostage. One of the hostages, jumped off of the pirate vessel and was rescued but sustained injuries. One person entering the citadel was also injured. Total of 1 hostage taken.
No shots were fired. The Equatorial Guinea Navy was on scene within 35-40 minutes and Navy patrol vessel arrived in 45 minutes. The Wele Nzas frigate arrived within the hour.
Navy and Ministry personnel conducted post-event inquiries. Tanker departed on time and is en route to next port. Pirate vessel direction of travel remains unverified.
Details regarding the incident remain unclear. The METHANE PRINCESS declared arrival at Punta Europa 24hrs prior to the alleged boarding incident. This latest incident is understood to be the 20th recorded kidnapping event in the Gulf of Guinea within 2020.
Despite larger numbers of kidnapped personnel across the first half of 2020 the current trend indicates that incidents of kidnapping and numbers of kidnapped personnel are tracking below the same time period in 2019. Incident volumes have historically increased between September and December as maritime conditions improve.