November 20 ------ Togo-flagged bunkering vessel Stelios K has been hijacked while en route to Lagos, the UK-based maritime security firm Dryad Global said on Tuesday. According to the latest information from today, the attackers remain on board and local authorities continue to negotiate the release of the vessel and its crew. “It is understood that the crew are safe,” Dryad said. The vessel’s last known location was 115 nautical miles south-southwest of Lomé.
As informed, the company reported a loss of contact with the vessel resulting in authorities seeking to establish the vessel’s location and make contact with the crew. “AIS tracking shows that the vessel took two sharp turns off of its course and slowed from 6.6kts to stop before AIS signal stopped. The vessel is understood to be remaining in position from where it lost contact, having still not appeared on AIS. “The lack of immediate kidnap would indicate that the perpetrators potentially sought options for either offloading or selling refined product that may be onboard,” Dryad Global said. This incident is the second hijacking within the GoG in 2020.
Dryad explained that such incidents remain rare due to both their complexity and high risk of interdiction by maritime security forces. The last known hijack occurred on May 15, 2020, when the fishing vessel, Hailufeng 11 lost contact with its company and disappeared from AIS. This is the third piracy incident being reported over the past couple of weeks. The recent two attacks resulted in the kidnapping of 29 seafarers from two vessels.