13 February 2012
Pirates fired on a cargo vessel off the coast of
on Monday killing the captain and chief engineer, a maritime watchdog body said as it warned shipping to stay clear of the area. "Armed pirates chased and fired upon a drifting bulk carrier. Vessel raised alarm and headed towards Nigeria . All crew except the bridge team took shelter in the citadel," the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre said in a statement. Cyrus Mody, a manager at the IMB, said the vessel's captain and chief engineer "were killed in the shooting." The attack, which took place 110 nautical miles off the coast, is one of three to have occurred in the area since Thursday, the IMB said. The attackers are believed to be "Nigerian pirates", according to Noel Choong, head of the IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. Lagos
Fuel or oil cargo has been stolen for sale on the region's lucrative black market, while robberies have also occurred. Crew members have been beaten and the pirates tend to be heavily armed. The theft of such cargo tends to be relatively sophisticated, with tankers often being directed to another pirate-controlled ship, where the fuel is transferred and then taken elsewhere for sale.