An attack has taken place on a floating facility offshore Nigeria, Dryad Global has reported, saying as many as 11 people may have been kidnapped.
The maritime security company said the attack on the Sendje Berge floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) would be unique in West Africa. It quoted reports as saying explosives had been used in the incident. The use of such weapons has not been previously reported in the region, it said.
“It seems that this was well-coordinated with two speedboats attacking separately so that one was able to draw the security vessel away from the FPSO. That’s not typical piracy modus operandi and from the limited information I have so far, this looks much more like some militant group making a statement of intent,” said Risk Intelligence’s senior analyst Dirks Siebels.
BW Offshore reported the attack took place at 4:20 am local time on Thursday. The FPSO operator said nine Nigerian nationals were kidnapped by pirates. None of those remaining on board have physical injuries, it said, and the Nigerian Navy is on the site.
Dryad noted there had been statements from various Niger Delta militant groups critical of the government. A group under the Coalition of the Niger Delta Agitators has withdrawn its ceasefire, the security company said.
The kidnappers are likely to offer the employees for ransom, Dryad said. Demands may have a political goal, such as the release of personnel or a cessation of military activity.
The Sendje Berge FPSO is owned by BW Offshore. It is contracted to Addax Petroleum, a unit of China’s Sinopec. The field lies in OML 126, south of Port Harcourt.
A boat working for Addax was attacked by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in 2008. The same year, Shell’s Bonga FPSO was also attacked.
Updated at 1:55 pm with statement from BW Offshore acknowledging the attack.