February 19, 2020 (Google Translation) – On February 14, 2020, the container ship Maersk Tema detects the suspicious approach of a boat while sailing 100 nautical miles (185 km) northwest of Sao Tome. The Maersk Tema flies the flag of the Marshall Islands and transits between Pointe-Noire (Congo) and Lagos (Nigeria).
Immediately, 17 of the 21 crew members retreat to the citadel (strong, secret and secure chamber of the boat), allowing them to escape capture. The master and three crew members remained on the bridge in order to perform deception maneuvers, such as zigzagging, aimed at preventing the vessel from boarding. Despite these maneuvers, the pirates manage to get on board. The team still on the bridge and the captain quickly joined the citadel.
From this secure area, the captain immediately alerts the MDAT-GoG (Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea) hosted by the Maritime Information, Cooperation and Awareness Center. The company’s security officer (CSO) was also warned, as were the various players in the architecture of Yaoundé, who act for the benefit of maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea. The actions undertaken by the MICA Center allow the fitting out of the Portuguese patrol vessel Zaire on a stopover in Sao Tome while the owner’s crisis unit is on board the Nigerian safety vessel Teach.
On the morning of February 15, the team of the speedboat Teach manages to board. No more pirate it is anticipated, and the crew of the Maersk Tema is authorized to leave the citadel. The container ship is then escorted to Lagos by the Teach.
“The captain of Maersk Tema had the right reflex by immediately contacting the MDAT-GoG cell, at the MICA Center,” said Lieutenant-Commander Gilles Chehab, commander of this center of expertise for the French Navy with a global vocation, based in Brest. “This action made it possible to mobilize actors in the region and to intervene to stop the threat. This is yet another illustration of ever more robust interregional cooperation in the fight against piracy and the importance of disseminating information quickly, as did the MICA Center. The annual piracy reportthat we published at the beginning of January 2020 does not say anything else: the Gulf of Guinea remains a risk zone but thanks to a permanent and rigorous watch, sometimes combined with an action, we can halt the progression of acts of piracy . ”
Also read the first annual report by the MICA Center on maritime piracy and brigandage around the world.