Shipowners are being warned of the dangers posed in the Gulf of Guinea by transferring petroleum products outside of designated anchorages.
According to new research, there is an increasing trend for Ship masters to be offered illegal cash sales of fuel cargo transferred outside anchorage areas. Perhaps unsurprisingly those who succumb to the temptation are often hit by pirates.
The new ploy appears to be a cunning rouse by criminals to try and force ships into compromising positions, so their security is weakened and they represent far more vulnerable targets.
At the moment the process seems to be rather unsophisticated with¬†the criminals sending an unsolicited email offering the services of a maritime company to buy petroleum products.
Prices¬†are given for a range of products, from crude oil to gasoline and aviation fuel, as well as information on ship-to-ship transfer barges, options for contact points and details.
The biggest concern at the moment is of how the pirates know of the location of the vessels in question to email them. It could hint at a wider operation and of insider knowledge.