Boskalis heavy lift vessel hit by pirates off West Africa

Royal Boskalis Westminster (Boskalis) revealed today that its heavy transport vessel Blue Marlin was hijacked on Sunday around 80 nautical miles offshore Equatorial Guinea.

After unloading in Equatorial Guinea, the vessel left for Malta on Sunday and was attacked Sunday afternoon, with the ship boarded by armed pirates.

All twenty crew members managed to secure themselves in the citadel and alerted the local authorities and the NATO mission MDAT-GoG. Two helicopters were immediately mobilised, followed by a navy vessel of Equatorial Guinea and another from the Spanish navy, part of the MDAT-GoG mission.

Monday morning at daylight, the vessel was boarded and searched by navy crew from the Equatorial Guinea and Spain vessels. The pirates had already fled the vessel and the crew were then freed, all in good health.

The pirates had fired several shots while aboard the vessel, causing substantial damage on the bridge.

The vessel, which is not sailable due to the damage, is currently around 40 miles offshore Equatorial Guinea in international waters. The naval vessel from Equatorial Guinea has left five armed guards on board to protect the vessel, which will soon be taken by a tug to a safe location.

Peter Berdowski, CEO of Boskalis, commented: “I want to express my compliments to our crew for their extremely professional and adequate actions in this life threatening situation. I am extremely grateful and in particular thankful to the navy of Equatorial Guinea for their quick and decisive response, as well as to the Spanish navy for their assistance via MDAT-GoG. Because of their actions, this hijacking could be ended quickly and our colleagues were brought into safety.”

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.
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