The 1998-built semi-submersible heavylift vessel Zhen Hua 7 was boarded by pirates near Sao Tome in the Gulf of Guinea on Friday, resulting in the kidnapping of 14 crew from the vessel.
According to a report from maritime safety consultancy Dryad Global, 14 of 27 Chinese crew members have been kidnapped and the vessel is now headed to Sao Tome escorted by Italian naval vessel Frederico Martiningo.
The incident was the eighth piracy incident in the Gulf of Guinea within nine days, with the total number of crew kidnapped from vessels throughout the area to 110 this year so far.
“With the confirmation of the latest kidnapping there is a potential that the rate of incidents will decline in the short term. However, whilst it is not confirmed that the activity over the past 9 days was perpetuated by a single PAG the risk profile for all vessels operating within the region has remains at critical, with attacks assessed as highly likely / expected daily,” Dryad Global warned.
The vessel is operated by Shanghai Zhenhua Shipping, the shipping unit of port machinery manufacturer ZPMC.