Robbers attack two tanker vessels off Lagos

PHOTO: Tonye Bakare

Anxiety continues to trail the safety of the crew on vessel offshore Nigeria, as armed robbers reportedly attacked two tankers off Lagos.

Data provided by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre, yesterday, said both attacks occurred on January 7, after midnight near Lagos.

“The first incident saw 4-5 robbers in a small skiff approach an unnamed anchored product tanker. The robbers threw two ropes attached with hooks onto the tanker’s railing.

“Duty crew on routine rounds heard voices near the bow and noticed the hooks and the skiff. Alarm was raised and non-essential crew members mustered in the citadel,” it stated.

The Master, according to IMB, requested assistance from the Nigerian Navy patrol boat, which immediately responded. Hearing the alarm, the robbers moved away. The patrol boat searched the waters around the tanker.

“During the second incident, two robbers with plastic hoses boarded an anchored tanker during a ship-to-ship (STS) operation. They connected the hoses to the ullage ports of the forward cargo tanks and attempted to steal cargo.

“Duty crew noticed the robbers and raised the alarm resulting in the robbers escaping. The incident was immediately reported to the Nigerian Navy patrol boat, which came to the location and carried out a check on the surrounding waters. Nothing was reported stolen,” it stated.

The global maritime report on piracy had earlier put Nigeria on the spot, occupying number one position in the number of recorded attacks against vessels in 2018.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Port of Virginia, has welcomed four new STS cranes, marking the latest step in the port’s $320 million capacity expansion project.

The cranes arrived at Virginia International Gateway (VIG) on January 7, 2019.

According to the port, the 170-foot-tall cranes will be the largest on the U.S. East Coast, and they will be able to service ultra large container vessels (ULCVs) calling at VIG.

The Port of Virginia aims to become the deepest port on the U.S. East Coast. In 2018, the port received the green light to move ahead with a project to deepen, and widen the Norfolk Harbor’s commercial shipping channels.
Specifically, the port’s inner harbor’s commercial channels will be dredged to 55 feet deep and the channel in the Chesapeake Bay to 56 feet deep.

Furthermore, the channel will be widened to as much as 1,400 feet in select areas, which will allow for two-way traffic of ultra-large container vessels. The project’s target completion date is 2025.

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