A BSM managed containership Maersk Tema was attacked by pirates off the coast of Guinea, Nigeria, earlier this year. The exemplary actions of the Master and his crew stopped this incident from developing into a kidnap and ramson situation, and most importantly, brought all 21 crew members to safety.
The vessel with a nominal capacity of 5,466 TEU was en-route from Pointe-Noire to Lagos at 19.4 knots, when the crew observed a suspicious approach from two skiffs and armed men intending to board the ship. The crew immediately activated their emergency response procedures and sought shelter. Both, the Nigerian and Portuguese navies attended the vessel’s request for assistance in a prompt manner.
Upon a full security sweep of the vessel conducted by Nigerian marines, it was verified that two pirates had indeed managed to board the containership; however, were able to escape before interdiction by authorities.
After the sweep, the vessel safely continued its journey to Lagos with a security escort. All appropriate maritime authorities of the region were notified, and the incident was reported by Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), the manager of the vessel, to the Guinea Anti-Piracy Reporting Centre.
A well-trained crew, regular drills, voyage preparedness and risk assessments, as well as close collaboration between shore and vessel, were the key success factors in this situation. BSM is especially grateful to the crew for their professionalism and following all procedures in such a commendable way, as well as the Portuguese navy, Nigerian navy and all other parties who provided their prompt assistance.