THE 1,893-TEU feeder MSC Lucia, while under attack by West African pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, was rescued by the Russian marines from a passing destroyer, who chased away the assailants, reported Fort Lauderdale’s Maritime Executive.
Britain’s MDAT-GoG piracy reporting centre confirmed the helicopter boarding in the middle of the Gulf of Guinea on the morning of October 25.
The Lucia called at the port of San Pedro in Cote D’Ivoire last week, then sailed to Lome, Togo, on October 22. She departed Lome on the morning of the 24th and headed southeast across the Gulf of Guinea.
At about 0900 GMT on the morning of the 25th, at a position about 150 nautical miles to the northwest of the island of Sao Tome, MSC Lucia slowed from 14 knots to a halt, based on AIS data provided by Pole Star.
The Russian Ministry of Defence said that the destroyer Vice-Admiral Kulakov received a distress signal from the MSC Lucia, reporting armed attackers had approached via speedboat and climbed aboard. Lucia’s crew had retreated to the engine room for safety.
In response, the destroyer Vice-Admiral Kulakov launched her Kumov Ka-27PS helicopter carrying a boarding party of marines. Upon seeing the approaching aircraft, the pirates fled the vessel, “got into a fast boat and headed towards the coast at full speed,” the ministry said.
The Kulakov is currently operating in the Gulf of Guinea on a three-week deployment, accompanied by a fleet oiler and a rescue tug.