2022-001-Gulf of Guinea-Piracy/Armed Robbery/Kidnapping for Ransom
This revised advisory cancels U.S. Maritime Advisory 2021-008
1. Reference: None.
2. Issue: Piracy/Armed Robbery/Kidnapping for Ransom (KFR) serve as a significant threat to U.S. flagged vessels transiting or operating in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG), and U.S. mariners onboard a vessel or transiting to or from a vessel in the GoG.
3. Pirates, armed robbers, and KFR groups continue to operate off Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Sao Tome and Principe, and Gabon, targeting a variety of vessels to include tankers, container ships, general cargo vessels, fishing vessels, passenger vessels, and vessels supporting oil drilling/production. These groups have used motherships to support operations up to 200 nautical miles from shore, and it is not uncommon for these groups to fire upon vessels during boardings and attempted boardings. KFR groups generally kidnap senior crew members to include the master, chief engineer, and any Western or foreign crew members. Kidnapped crew members are normally taken ashore in the Niger Delta region where KFR groups demand ransom payments in exchange for the safe return of the crew members. Details of incidents in the GoG can be found in the Office of Naval Intelligence “Shipping Threat Reports”, posted here https://www.oni.navy.mil/News/Shipping-Threat-Reports/.
4. Guidance: Mariners transiting this area should visit the new Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade-Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) website at https://gog-mdat.org/home (does not currently load in Internet Explorer browsers) and the NATO Shipping Centre website at https://shipping.nato.int/nsc/operations/global-maritime-risk/west-africa-gulf-of-guinea for additional information on threats and specific recommendations for their vessels. U.S. flag vessels anchoring, transiting, or operating in this region must comply with their approved Vessel Security Plans. Additionally, the “Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy and Enhance Maritime Security Off the Coast of West Africa including the Gulf of Guinea” (available under the Geography – Gulf of Guinea pull-down menu at https://www.maritimeglobalsecurity.org/) provides additional guidance and resources for operating in this area.
5. U.S. flagged operators with ships operating in or through the GoG Voluntary Reporting Area designated on Maritime Security Chart Q6114 (chart info available at https://www.admiralty.co.uk/maritime-safety-information/security-related-information-to-mariners) should transit with extreme caution and vigilance. Mariners operating near this area are also advised to consult the Department of State Travel Advisories for this area at https://go.usa.gov/xUKs2.
6. All suspicious activities and events involving U.S. vessels or persons must be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at 800-424-8802 in accordance with 33 CFR 101.305.
7. Contact Information: MDAT-GoG is operated by the navies of France and the United Kingdom. This center receives reports, shares important updates, provides guidance on vessel operating patterns, and reviews security risks with the Gulf of Guinea maritime community. Note that MDAT-GoG does not coordinate responses to vessels under attack. MDAT-GoG can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone at +33(0)2 98 22 88 88. For any maritime industry questions about this advisory, contact GMCC@uscg.mil . Supplemental information may also be found on the MARAD Office of Maritime Security website at https://go.usa.gov/xUKsb.
8. The Coast Guard announced in the Federal Register the availability of Revision 8 to Maritime Security (MARSEC) Directive 104–6, which provides guidelines for U.S. vessels operating in high-risk waters (HRW) where acts of terrorism, piracy, and armed robbery against ships are prevalent. U.S. vessel owners and operators who have needed to take action under previous versions of MARSEC Directive 104–6 should immediately contact their local Coast Guard Captain of the Port or District Commander for a copy of Revision 8.
9. Cancellation of Prior Advisories: This message cancels U.S. Maritime Advisory 2021-002 and will automatically expire on July 3, 2022.
For more information about U.S. Maritime Alerts and Advisories, including subscription details, please visit https://go.usa.gov/x6QJc.