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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Gulf of Guinea Pirates? The little mystery of the Frio Athens

On May 4, 2013, the ICC Live Piracy Report notes the following:
04.05.2013: 1135UTC: Posn: 03:49.5N - 006:41.2E, 33NM SW of Bonny River Fairway Buoy, Nigeria.
Six to eight pirates in a speed boat chased and fired upon a Refrigerated Cargo Ship underway. Vessel enforced anti-piracy measures and managed to move away. All crew safe but ship sustained minor damage due to the firing.
Ah, a failed pirate attack, it seems . . . but wait -

Here's another report on the refigerator ship Frio Athens from the Maritime Bulletin:
Greek reefer Frio Athens seems to be still under pirates control. No news from anyone with regards to Frio Athens, except warning in Notices to Mariners to keep clear of the area of the hijack, without the details of the hijacked vessel.
According to discreet positions received via satellite AIS system, during most part of May 5 vessel was drifting, in the afternoon vessel started to move in northern direction at low speed. Maritime bulletin was informed by a reader that Frio Athens may be manned by Russian crew.
. This report included references to prior Maritime Bulletin reports:
Frio Athens
© vovashap

Reefer Frio Athens taken by pirates to open sea?
Posted on May 5, 2013
Reefer Frio Athens, presumably hijacked by pirates on May 4 13, changed course and instead of moving to Port Harcourt moved or is still moving, in opposite direction to open sea. At 01:32 UTC or ET May 5 vessel was in position 02 20N 005 38E.
Attack news:
Greek reefer Frio Athens probably hijacked, Nigeria
Reefer Frio Athens attacked by pirates at around 13:30 LT May 4 13, in the same position where two hours earlier was attacked boxship CMA CGM Africa Four (03 35N 006 40E, some 55 nautical miles SW of Bonny). Vessel issued distress messages on VHF, after that contact was lost, no other information available. Vessel was en route from Tema to Port Harcourt. Frio Athens didn’t arrive to Harcourt, AIS is off, most probably vessel hijacked and is under pirates control.
Nationalities of the crews unknown.
Reefer Frio Athens, IMO 8710340, dwt 8800, built 1988, flag Vanuatu, manager LAVINIA CORP, Greece.
Now, a reported update from here (which refers to yet another Maritime Bulletin report and contains an editorial note):
With regards to the situation with Frio Athens:

Our company, Joint Greece – Ukraine crewing company “Seafarers Training Center” manned the vessel in question, all crew is Ukrainian. Vessel was attacked and fired upon by pirates. Thanks to Master and the crew, vessel managed to avoid pirates, nobody was hurt. Crewing company is in constant touch with the operator. Operator is doing everything possible to provide a safe passage of the vessel. Presently, vessel is maneuvering in accordance with operator’s orders.


Let’s hope actual situation fits the information providing by crewing company, vessel and crew are safe and pirates were thwarted. Still, the question remains unanswered – why such strange movements, why vessel was adrift, why vessel didn’t steam to Port Harcourt immediately after the attack. Vessel was to arrive to Port Harcourt at 0000 May 4.

Such is the situation in Gulf of Guinea, that no one can be trusted except the crews. all other parties, including shipowners, are interested in hiding the truth.

Meanwhile, one more attack took place on May 6 at around 01:10 LT some 25 nautical miles south of Lome, Togo. An unknown vessel was attacked, but managed to avoid pirates boarding, and escaped.

Voytenko Mikhail
Pirated? Limping about while repairs are conducted? Something else?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:56 AM

    Frio Athens was instructed to sail off Port Harcourt as an evasive countermeasure due to the attack of the pirates. Vessel was not hijacked by pirates and owners were always in contact with the vessel. Vessel returned back to Bonnie River while owners have arranged arm guards on board to escort vessel until port Harcourt.