UK maritime security firm, Dryad Global, has reported that an LNG carrier, the 138,160 cubic metres capacity “Methane Princess”, was attacked and boarded while at anchor off Malabo near the Equatorial Guinea LNG export plant in West Africa.
“The vessel was attacked shortly after breaking off loading operations,” said Dryad, citing the Channel 16 VHF international radio distress frequency.
“The alarm was sounded and all on deck were able to retreat to citadel,” said Dryad.
“Two Filipino nationals were on the jetty and both were taken hostage. One of the hostages, jumped off the pirate vessel and was rescued. One person entering the citadel was also injured and a total of one hostage was taken,” said the Dryad report..
Dryad added that no gun shots were fired and an Equatorial Guinea Navy vessel was at the scene within 40 minutes and a Navy patrol vessel arrived in 45 minutes.
“Navy and Ministry personnel conducted post-event inquiries. The tanker departed on time and was en route to its next port,” said the report.
“The pirate vessel’s direction of travel remains unverified. Further details regarding the incident are unclear,” it added.
The “Methane Princess”, owned by Golar LNG, had declared its arrival at the Punta Europa export plant 24 hours prior to the boarding incident.
“This latest incident is understood to be the 20th recorded kidnapping event in the Gulf of Guinea within 2020,” stated Dryad.
The Equatorial Guinea LNG plant began production in May 2007 and its single processing Train currently produces 3.7 million tonnes per annum.
The shareholders of EG LNG’s holding company have contracted volumes to Royal Dutch Shell under a 17-year agreement inherited from BG Group of the UK after a takeover.
BG originally signed that deal to ship the LNG cargoes to the Lake Charles import terminal in the US state of Louisiana before the shale-gas expansion turned the US into an exporter.
Dryad Global reported the previous attack on an LNG carrier off West Africa in December 2019 when a single speedboat with 10 armed men on board approached the “LNG Lokoja”, while the vessel was heading for the Bonny Island export plant in Nigeria.
Those pirates were reported to have opened fire on the vessel. However, the ship conducted evasive manoeuvres causing the attack to fail.
That incident took place some 70 nautical miles northwest of Sao Tomé and Príncipe, the former Portuguese colony.
The 148,300 cubic metres capacity “LNG Lokoja” , under the management of BW Gas of Singapore, was met by the Nigerian Patrol vessel “Defender VI” and the Portuguese Navy vessel “Zaire” and continued to port under escort.