Attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Guinea region

The Club have recieved a security bulletin from INTERTANKO regarding attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Guinea region.

A number of ships belonging to INTERTANKO Members have been attacked over the weekend in the Gulf of Guinea, with one attack resulting in three seafarers being kidnapped and taken ashore.

INTERTANKO strongly condemns these attacks and reiterates the real concern over the continued insecurity in the region.

We urge all Members operating ships in the area to follow the Guidelines for Owners, Operators and Masters for protection against piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea region (Version 3, June 2018). These Guidelines can be accessed here:

Additionally, we urge all ships operating in the area to comply with the reporting processes for the MDAT-GoG centre as detailed in the guidance for ships operating in the Gulf of Guinea. The relevant extract from these guidelines has been reproduced at the end of this message.

It should be noted that the information that is submitted is held in France and the only communications with the Gulf of Guinea region are in the event of an attack.

INTERTANKO works very closely with MDAT-GoG and all of the regional stakeholders. The MDAT-GoG centre is a trustworthy source and not reporting to them will slow down any response to an attack.

The attack response also includes a direct warning telephone call to all ships that have reported to them to warn them of an attack in the vicinity. Therefore, not reporting will make it harder for a ship to be warned of the presence of a pirate group operating nearby.

Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade - Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG):

MDAT-GoG is a service operated by the French and UK navies from centres in Brest, France, and Portsmouth, UK and aims to develop, maintain and share details of the maritime domain picture of the waters off Africa's western seaboard. The MDAT-GoG administers a Voluntary Reporting Area (VRA) scheme under which merchant ships are encouraged to report position information while operating in the VRA.

The VRA, as shown on Admiralty Chart Q6114, has been issued to clearly define an internationally recognised area, so ship operators and ships transiting, trading or operating in West Africa can join a trusted reporting scheme. The provision of Admiralty Chart Q6114 to all ships operating in the VRA is strongly recommended.

Suspicious activity and incidents reported to MDAT-GoG by shipping in the VRA, using the forms on the Chart and repeated at Annex B, assist in the creation of a detailed and accurate regional maritime domain picture. The analysis is used to produce security recommendations that are shared with seafarers, ship operators and law enforcement agencies to enhance risk awareness and improve incident response.

The MDAT-GoG provides a 24-hour manned service of military experts. The MDAT-GoG receives reports, shares important updates and provides guidance on ship operating patterns and security risks with the Gulf of Guinea maritime community.

  • The MDAT-GoG has no influence over the deployment of local military assets to assist merchant ships which are attacked but is linked with national and regional maritime operations centres and may be able to help direct them to the scene of an incident.
  • Dedicated naval staff collate data from a variety of sources to aid their understanding of the maritime environment. The voluntary position reports from ships operating within the VRA are an important input to greater understanding of maritime activity - the information reported is used to inform other regional governmental organisations and inform recommendations to enhance security planning, incident response and investigations.

Owners and operators should bring this reporting scheme to the attention of their ships to encourage ships entering the VRA to report, make daily reports during transit and log a departure report when leaving. The contact details and details of the report format are shown at Annex A.


Ships are encouraged to send regular reports, using the MDAT-GoG reporting forms as below:


On entering the VRA                                      Initial Report

Daily**                                                           Daily Position Report

On Departing the VRA   Final Report

By Exception   By Exception Report

** At 0800 if convenient to daily routine**

How to Report?

The MDAT-GoG reporting forms (see Annex B), should be used to make the reports described above.

Email is the preferred method of communication but alternatively telephone, (see Annex A for contact details).

Staff Author