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Thread: Americans Kidnapped From Supply Boat Offshore Nigera

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    Default Americans Kidnapped From Supply Boat Offshore Nigera

    Americans Kidnapped from Supply Boat Offshore Nigeria, Victim’s Family Interviewed

    By Rob Almeida On October 24, 2013



    PSV C-Retriever, image via Christian/Shipspotting



    “Things are definitely getting more intense here,” remarked one of our sources working offshore Nigeria this afternoon.

    A security boat manned with Joint Task Force (JTF) Nigeria personnel was allegedly attacked by militants this morning off Nigeria.

    According to one of our sources, all JTF personnel were killed and their weapons taken by the militants.

    “This is the second attack on a security boat in the past three days,” our source adds.

    Additional gCaptain sources also indicate that the Edison Chouest-owned, US-flagged platform supply vessel C-Retriever was working in a nearby field off Brass, Nigeria and was also attacked, an incident that our sources indicate was unrelated to the attack on the JTF personnel. Our source notes that the Captain and Chief Engineer, who are both US citizens, were kidnapped. A very close family friend of the Chief Engineer (who identified himself as his brother, but whos name is withheld at his request) confirmed with us that the FBI is working on the case.

    In a phone conversation with the friend of the engineer, Edison Chouest explained to them that 90 percent of the kidnap victims were returned to their families in good health and that the kidnappers had not yet contacted the company. Typically, first contact is made within 7 to 10 days, and the final “transaction” where the ransom is paid and person released happens in about a month.

    The friend notes that the kidnap victim is a huge Gator fan, enjoys riding motorcycles, and has a huge heart. In fact, he mentioned that one time he gave $2,000 to a total stranger after someone stole her Christmas tree and all her presents.

    We have reached out to Edison Chouest for official comment, but they have not yet returned our phone call or emails.

    A State Department official commented in an emailed statement saying, “We are closely monitoring reports that two U.S. citizens have been kidnapped from a U.S.-flagged vessel, the C-RETRIEVER, in the Gulf of Guinea. We are seeking additional information about the incident.”

    In an emailed note this morning from CBS News, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has reportedly taken responsibility for the attack and are holding the two Americans captive, however as other news agencies we’ve talked to this morning note, these militant groups can really say whatever they want and it’s not necessarily the truth.

    The following is a graphic of the vessel tracking data for the C-Retriever which was obtained via vessel tracking provider, PortVision.com. The circled position indicates the vessel’s last known position, which was recorded at 2243 CDT on 22 October.


    Image via PortVision, click for larger



    http://gcaptain.com/nigerian-offshor...ity-personnel/
    Always Take Things For What They're Worth & DYODD

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    Default Re: Americans Kidnapped From Supply Boat Offshore Nigera

    Betrayal On Board the PSV C-Retriever? Or Perhaps a Deal Gone Bad?

    By Rob Almeida On October 25, 2013



    Very little information is available about the circumstances surrounding the capture of the two Americans from the platform supply vessel, C-Retriever on Wednesday, yet Automatic Identification System (AIS) track data of the vessel may provide a clue.


    Windward’s predictive maritime analytics system (MarInt) shows the recent movements of the PSV C-Retriever



    As the above picture shows, the vessel had been tracking back and forth between Port Harcourt and the Pacific Bora, a drilling rig working at the Chevron Agbami FPSO oil field. On it’s last trip offshore however, it strayed north, out of sight from any fixed or floating platform in the area.

    In a conversation with an individual working in Nigeria who is close the matter, he notes that in many cases offshore Nigeria, “the reason that ships take different routes, is because of fuel theft. When operating in and around the platform, they can be seen, so there’s no opportunity to steal fuel. Around the ports, they can be seen, so there’s no opportunity there either.” Our source, who has to remain confidential due to safety reasons, speculates that the Nigerian crew of the vessel may have forced the ship’s captain to sail north in order to facilitate the theft of the fuel, or whatever else might have been on board the vessel.

    “What I had seen,” our source notes, “is that the crews have put massive pressure on the captains to do the deviation.” He adds that if the captain or expat crew resisted in this transfer, it may have resulted in the kidnapping situation they are now faced with. “This is speculation, but this is a situation that I’ve seen before and have had to personally deal with myself.”


    Another view


    A gCaptain source working in the Agbami field commented for us today noting that there have easily been 10 to 15 pirate attacks within 30 miles of Agbami so far this year. He notes that there are security vessels around the Chevron-owned FPSO that maintain a 10-mile perimeter, however while the vessels transit from Port Harcourt to the facility, “they are totally vulnerable to attack.”

    Our source notes that it’s quite possible there were “leaks” inside the shore-based logistics chain vessel that might have tipped off the pirates before the C-Retriever headed toward the Agbami field, and the vessel was likely boarded somewhere in between the port and the field, then diverted north for the fuel transfer.

    On the topic of fuel theft, our source notes that it’s a fairly frequent occurrence and that normally the whole crew is involved in the theft. ”If one person isn’t ‘on-board’,” our source notes, “the deals typically don’t happen.” He notes that these attacks typically occur when the vessel is on its way in to port. In this case however, it was heading out to the field when it was attacked.

    One of our sources in the Niger Delta notes that although the kidnappers may put you up in a hotel, give you beer and marijuana, the business of fuel theft is no joke. ”My friend did a sting for an [oil] major and they had to back down due to death threats, it is that big and highly organized and they will kill you without a doubt.”


    The political landscape


    Our source in Nigeria explained that Nigeria is getting ready for a new presidential election in 2015 and that the government itself is increasingly focusing itself on the upcoming election, while at the same time, “their eyes are coming off the ball” with regard to running the country. “Individuals, organizations, states… they are starting to do things their own way. It’s reasonable to say that whether it’s with MEND, organized crime, or Boko Haram, there ‘is more opportunity for adventure’ so-to-speak.”

    Our source adds that there’s nothing substantial behind MEND’s claim that they hold the kidnapped American.

    http://gcaptain.com/c-retriever-nigeria-betrayal/
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    Default Re: Americans Kidnapped From Supply Boat Offshore Nigera

    2 seized in pirate attack off Nigeria, U.S. official says

    By Barbara Starr and Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
    updated 9:02 AM EDT, Fri October 25, 2013



    Pirates kidnap two U.S. citizens




    (CNN) -- Armed men stormed a boat off Nigeria's coast and took hostage two mariners believed to be U.S. citizens, a U.S. official said Thursday.

    Pirates kidnapped the captain and chief engineer from a U.S.-flagged oil platform supply vessel in the Gulf of Guinea on Wednesday, the official said.

    Details about the crew members' conditions and the condition of their ship, the C-Retriever, were not immediately available.

    Louisiana-based Edison Chouest Offshore, which owns the vessel, did not immediately respond to requests for comments.



    Travel by sea can be perilous in the region where the attack occurred, one analyst said Thursday.

    "The danger there is extreme," said Capt. Don Marcus, president of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots.

    Partial amnesty for 'boy pirates'?


    In the Gulf of Guinea, he told CNN's "The Lead," slow-moving vessels servicing oil platforms are more vulnerable to attacks than cargo ships traveling off the coast of Somalia, another area that's drawn attention for maritime piracy.

    The Gulf of Guinea produces some 5.4 million barrels of oil a day, according to Chatham House. And about 30% of U.S. oil imports flow through the region, according to International Crisis Group.

    The oil-rich area off the coast of West Africa has increasingly drawn international attention as a piracy hotspot, with 40 pirate attacks reported in the first nine months of 2013, the International Maritime Bureau reported.

    A high-tech hunt for pirates


    It also has been the site of the only ship crew kidnappings worldwide this year, with 132 crew members taken hostage.

    Seven ships have been hijacked, the organization said.

    Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea accounted for 30% of the 1,434 reported piracy attacks in African waters between 2003 and 2011 and the pace of attacks has risen since then, London-based think tank Chatham House reported in March.

    Chatham House reported 62 pirate attacks in the gulf in 2012, up from 39 in 2010.

    The think tank says it's partially because Western navies have cracked down on piracy off the coast of Somalia, on the other side of the continent. But it's unclear whether any troops will intervene after this week's attack in the Gulf of Guinea.

    Somali pirates cost global economy $18 billion a year

    The Nigerian Navy has directed its operational commands and bases to search and rescue the crew members and the vessel, spokesman Commodore Kabir Aliy said.

    U.S. Marines are in the region aboard a Dutch ship off West Africa. Military forces from the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands and five African nations recently held exercises in the region that were designed to strengthen maritime security, according to the U.S. Navy.

    "We are seeking additional information about the incident so that we may contribute to safely resolving the situation," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters Thursday. "Obviously our concern at this point is for the safe return of the two U.S. citizens."

    Controversy surrounds Tom Hanks movie 'Captain Phillips'
    Gunboats keep pirates from 'blue gold'

    Vid at link
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/24/world/...ack/index.html
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    Default Re: Americans Kidnapped From Supply Boat Offshore Nigera

    Why don't they allow them to carry rifles with scopes?


    Or a grenade launcher?
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    Default Re: Americans Kidnapped From Supply Boat Offshore Nigera

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldhedge View Post
    Why don't they allow them to carry rifles with scopes?


    Or a grenade launcher?
    Lots of different laws to deal with when you leave America and you are in some one else's country, port and waters. There are a few companies that specialize in protecting merchant ships but once they are in someone's waters they are subject to that country's laws. There is an international coalition that has been fighting piracy for a good while now.

    Some interesting articles on piracy here: http://blog.usni.org/2009/07/17/arme...irate-problem/
    Always Take Things For What They're Worth & DYODD

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    Default Re: Americans Kidnapped From Supply Boat Offshore Nigera

    Fish food tells no tales...
    "...a Republic, if you can keep it!" Ben Franklin

    Derivatives are contracts whose value is derived from stocks, bonds, loans, currencies and
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    Default Re: Americans Kidnapped From Supply Boat Offshore Nigera

    This is rather interesting when you consider the posts above:

    The Fuel Theft Trade Offshore Nigeria Could Make You Rich, Or Kill You

    By Rob Almeida On October 26, 2013



    A platform supply vessel and and FPSO, file photo (c) Shutterstock/am70



    In speaking with sources in Nigeria this week, one thing that has become abundantly clear… the business of fuel theft is the primary driver of piracy in the region, and it’s an issue that appears to have spread throughout many levels of the oil and gas industry.

    A gCaptain source who has spent many years working offshore in the Niger Delta notes that when fuel prices were low, oil majors operating in the area often overlooked the theft of fuel from the boats that supplied their offshore oil and gas activities. It was standard operating procedure, but now it’s “out of control.”

    How it works

    Fuel buyers frequently sign for significantly more fuel than what is actually delivered, the difference is then sold on the black market. These deals however, conducted out of sight of land or other vessels, make the vessels themselves targets because after the “transaction” the pirates come and steal their money back.

    Regional involvement is extensive, our source writes, including “politicians, navy, marine mid management with the [oil] majors, many of the white guys.” He adds, “Nigerian captains drive expensive cars, Range Rovers and the like.”

    The kidnapping of the two Americans this week from the Edison Chouest-owned C-Retriever platform supply vessel is not an isolated case by any means, nor are they the first Americans (or Edison Chouest employees) to be kidnapped and held for ransom by Nigerians. As another source working in the region noted yesterday, upwards of 15 attacks have occurred this year within a 30 mile radius of the Agbami oil field offshore Nigeria.

    Recent events show, and our sources indicate, that resisting the fuel theft trade offshore Nigeria could at the very least mean losing one’s job, or perhaps being kidnapped and held for ransom, or even death.

    If you play along with the “game,” you may be able to pocket a serious amount of cash, as many have done, but then again, you may also find yourself in 3rd world hole-in-the-ground hoping your employer bails you out.

    Note: There’s no indication that the two kidnapped Edison Chouest employees (who must remain anonymous at this point) were involved with the illegal fuel theft trade, and this article is not meant to imply or suggest they were in any way. If anyone has further information to share on this topic, please feel free to email rob@gCaptain.com, we do not disclose our sources.

    http://gcaptain.com/nigeria-frightening-place-work/
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    Default Re: Americans Kidnapped From Supply Boat Offshore Nigera

    “The Business” Offshore Nigeria

    By Rob Almeida On October 29, 2013



    File image of a typical platform supply vessel, image (c) Shutterstock/am70




    Two American seafarers are currently being held against their will somewhere in Nigeria tonight, kidnapped from the Edison Chouest-owned supply vessel C-Retriever last Wednesday.

    Our sources close to the situation have shown us that this predicament is far different from the situation that the crew of the Maersk Alabama, or really any other vessel pirated off of Somalia over the past few years.

    Nigerian Militant groups such as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) have claimed responsibility, but sources indicate that blaming MEND for the attacks is essentially the same as blaming southern Nigeria for the attacks. The organization itself appears headless, very loosely organized, and primarily a tool to further the political ambitions of various members.

    Money is undoubtably THE motivating factor in the kidnapping, but as we noted last week, the use of locals on board the vessels is also of significant importance.

    It’s all tied together however

    It’s not about the Ijaw community’s threat to Edison Chouest about hiring locals so that they can earn hourly wages, the locals want to work on board these vessels so that more of them can get a cut of the money from the illegal fuel theft trade. Make no mistake; although the fuel theft trade may be technically illegal, our sources note that it is most definitely the way business is done in Nigeria.

    If you’re working on a supply vessel or anchor handler out of Port Harcourt or Onne and you’re not involved in the fuel theft trade, one source we spoke with today notes that you will be soon, or you’ll be packing your bags home because EVERYONE expects to be paid.

    It’s massive business too. According to our sources, 100 tons of fuel is a typical transfer. One of the militants in the area even just bought himself a personal jet according to a source.

    Oddly enough however, the fuel theft business seems to have been born in America.

    Our sources note that years ago, supply boats coming in and out of Louisiana fudged their numbers and sold fuel under the radar. This business has now spread to Nigeria, and truly all around the world.

    Sources speculate on the kidnapping

    gCaptain sources note that the vessel’s crew did not have enough time to send out a distress call before they had to evacuate to the engineroom and hope for the best.

    One source speculates that the vessel’s captain purposely brought to the area just north of the Agbami field in order to conduct a fuel transfer, where they were then hijacked.

    “As you can see in the AIS track history, the vessel always approaches the field from the south, which is a requirement for security reasons. In this case, he went north,” our source points out.

    Our sources appear in agreement that the best way to calm down the situation, on the part of the captain and engineer, would have been to been as helpful as possible with the pirates.

    “Rest assured, if pirates board your ship, they are taking the white guys, especially the Americans,” notes our source. “And the more you prolong their mission, the more angry and aggressive they become. And at the end of it all you will still be kidnapped and robbed. Its just a matter of if you want to walk of the ship, or be carried off after they beat you for not cooperating.”

    One source we spoke to today notes that if it looks like you’re going to get boarded by pirates, especially at night, you can shut down the ship, go completely dark, and hope that after the pirates stumble around in the dark for a while, they decide to go home.

    They usually don’t give up though he notes.

    Following the Money

    Earlier in our investigation into this “Business,” we assumed the fuel theft business was a cash transaction, which is still true in some cases, but considering the volumes of cash involved now, and the dangers that go along with having stacks of cash, most of the transactions are now conducted electronically according to our sources.

    Once the money is in a Nigerian bank, the fuel is transferred. The trick for expats is getting it back to wherever they came from, which is not so simple, but of course they find solutions.

    The fate of the two American hostages is still up in the air, however there are indications that a financial transaction may be being negotiated at the moment between Edison Chouest and the kidnappers.

    Our sources all agree that it’s unlikely the Americans will be seriously harmed. Doing so would certainly shine a very bright spotlight on the region and “Jungle Justice” as one source notes, might prevail.

    None of which is good for The Business.

    http://gcaptain.com/the-business-offshore-nigeria/
    Always Take Things For What They're Worth & DYODD

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    Default Re: Americans Kidnapped From Supply Boat Offshore Nigera

    Without a doubt the worse country I have ever worked in. I was there in 1989. It took me about a day there to realize the planet doesn't need an asshole it already had one.

    you know there is something amiss upon arrival you are told the first golden rule is don't ever touch a dead body in the street as if you do, then it becomes your responsibility.
    I saw a lot of dead bodies in the street nobody cares.

    Still Prompts me to tell all the younger people on the rigs today who are thinking of working International

    " there are 2 countries in the world you never want to work in one is Nigeria and the other is Nigeria "

    come to think of it there is a bit of a clue in the name.

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