Hijacking of the Success 9: Everything We Know So Far
*This article will be updated when new information on the incident is available*
On the 10th of April @ 14:00 UTC, the Singapore flagged oil tanker Success 9 was hijacked approximately 300nm from Abidjan in Ivory Coast. At the time of writing, the vessel remains missing after the AIS transmission was turned off. Whilst all incidents of this nature are alarming for the maritime industry, this one, in particular, is cause for concern considering the recent hijacking of the MT Monjasa Reformer, which was missing for five days before reappearing with six crew members being kidnapped. This article will give an overview of what we know so far about the Success 9 hijacking.
MDAT-GoG first reported the incident, which has since been confirmed by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Hai Soon Diesel, who operate the vessel. This came after various security and media companies tracked the likely vessel to be Success 9 through AIS data. Twenty crew members are on board Success 9, with one being confirmed as Singaporean.
Ambrey noted that the estimated freeboard at the time of the incident would have been around 2.1m, which presents little to no challenge for pirates to board when protected with just razor wire. Furthermore, they stated that the AIS was turned off 25 minutes after the attack started. MDAT-GoG has since requested that masters in the area keep a lookout for the vessel and any suspicious activity. They report that the vessel is a "black-hulled tanker with a white superstructure and white funnel with blue stripes".
An Ivorian patrol boat was sent to locate the vessel, but the attempt was unsuccessful. As a result, Ivory Coast has since requested help from Europe and, in particular, Spain to help track the vessel to maintain maritime security. The Secretary-General of the IMO, Kitack Lim, commented on the recent incidents in the Gulf of Guinea saying that it was deeply concerning.
It will remain to be seen if incidents of this nature continue in 2023. Italian security firm Praesidium commented that pirate operations may have switched to intel-based offshore operations due to security forces making operations difficult to launch from land.
EOS Risk Group have corroborated with a similar assessment, suggesting that a mothership may have launched a skiff or that a second tanker may be in the area to steal oil from Success 9 as the incident took place so far from shore.
On Saturday, the 15th of April, MPA announced that the vessel had been located, with all 20 crew being reported as safe. Success 9 was located by another commercial vessel, the Monjasa Sprinter, and was escorted to the port of Abidjan by an Ivory Coast patrol vessel. The vessel had diesel cargo, but no reports indicate what happened when Success 9 was missing. Given the length of time the vessel was missing, it is highly likely that such cargo was stolen. MPA thanked all relevant parties, including MDAT-GoG and regional security forces such as the French Navy and coast guards from West African countries such as Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
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