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MSCI Advisory

2019-010-Gulf of Guinea-Piracy/Armed Robbery/Kidnapping for Ransom


This revised advisory cancels U.S. Maritime Advisory 2019-003

1. Reference: U.S. Maritime Alert 2018-003A

2. Issue: Piracy, armed robbery, and kidnapping for ransom (KFR) continue to serve as significant threats to U.S. flagged vessels transiting or operating in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).

3. According to the Office of Naval Intelligence’s “Weekly Piracy Reports” website 72 reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea occurred in the GoG region this year as of July 9, 2019. Attacks, kidnappings for ransom (KFR), and boardings to steal valuables from the ships and crews are the most common types of incidents with approximately 75 percent of all incidents taking place off Nigeria. During the first six months of 2019, there were 15 kidnapping and 3 hijackings in the GoG.

4. Most KFR operations in the GoG occur around the Niger Delta and target vessels (tankers, tugs, offshore supply vessels, fishing vessels, and cargo vessels) with expatriate crew due to their potentially high ransom value. Motherships have been used to support KFR operations up to 150 nautical miles offshore. Criminals/armed KFR groups have been known to fire upon targeted vessels prior to attempting to board them. KFR groups generally kidnap two to six high value crewmembers to include the master, chief engineer, and any Western crewmembers. There were, however, several incidents over the past year where more than ten crewmembers were kidnapped during a boarding. Kidnapped crewmembers are normally taken ashore in the Niger Delta region where KFR groups demand ransom payments in exchange for the safe return of the crewmembers.

5. Guidance: U.S. flagged operators with ships operating in or through the GoG Voluntary Reporting Area designated on Maritime Security Chart Q6114 at should transit with extreme caution and vigilance.

6. Mariners transiting the area should visit the NATO Shipping Centre website at: for additional information on this threat 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.

7. Mariners operating near this area are also advised to consult the Department of State Travel Warnings for this area at:

8. All suspicious activities and events must be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center at 800-424-8802 in accordance with 33 CFR 101.305.

9. Contact Information: The Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade-Gulf of Guinea (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: or telephone at +33(0) 298 22 88 88.

10. For maritime industry questions about this advisory, contact the Global Maritime Operational Threat Coordination Center (GMCC) at Supplemental information may also be found on the MARAD Office of Maritime Security website at

11. Cancellation of Prior Advisories: This message cancels U.S. Maritime Advisory 2019-003 and will automatically expire on January 13, 2020.

For more information about U.S. Maritime Alerts and Advisories, including subscription details, please visit