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Singapore-flagged ship boarded by pirates found; all 20 crew members reported safe

Singapore-flagged ship boarded by pirates found; all 20 crew members reported safe
Aqil Hamzah 17 April 2023

SINGAPORE - The Success 9, a Singapore-flagged vessel that was boarded by pirates about 570km off the Ivory Coast last Monday, was found on Saturday evening and all its 20 crew members, including a Singaporean, are safe.

In a statement issued early on Sunday morning, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said the chemical and oil product tanker had been located off the coast of the city of Abidjan by a commercial ship, the Monjasa Sprinter.

The ship had picked up a distress call from Success 9 and MPA was eventually alerted.

MPA, which has been working closely with HS Ocean – Success 9’s owner – as well as multinational agencies through the Information Fusion Centre and the Monrovia Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, subsequently informed the two centres.

A patrol vessel from the Ivory Coast’s navy was deployed to confirm and board the ship, and all crew members were found to be “safe and in good health”.

The ship has since arrived at Abidjan’s port.

During the search for Success 9, MPA had been collaborating with various agencies in the region, including the Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea, a joint maritime monitoring effort by France and Britain.

It also worked with regional security forces and the French navy, as well as the coast guards and maritime administrations from the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

“All nearby and passing commercial ships were also cued to help in the search for Success 9,” said MPA.

From last Monday, after pirates boarded it, to when it was found on Saturday, the Success 9 was uncontactable, with its location failing to show up on automatic identification systems as well.

The search for the vessel, described as a “black-hulled tanker with a white superstructure, (and a) white funnel with blue stripes”, had involved the Ivory Coast authorities deploying air and sea assets to the vicinity of its last known position.

MPA advised Singapore-registered ships to exercise caution when operating in Africa. It also emphasised the need to implement guidelines found in the Best Management Practices West Africa. The publication, released by the International Chamber of Shipping and other shipping industry associations in March 2020, outlines ways to mitigate piracy-related threats at sea.

“Companies should also regularly review their ship security assessment and plan under the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code.

“Companies are advised to report all pirate activity, including both actual and attempted attacks, as well as suspicious sightings, to local authorities,” MPA added.