On Jan 23, 2021, at 05.25 a.m. UTC the 'Mozart' came under attack of pirates whilst sailing in the Gulf of Guinea about 100 miles off the coast of Sao Tome. Meanwhile contact has been established with the crew trying to take shelter in the citadel. 15 out of 19 sailors were kidnapped. Farman Ismayılov, an Azerbaijani engineer, was killed. It was reported that the Nigerian pirates were waiting for negotiations for ransom. Immediately after the attack all relevant authorities have been notified and assistance has been asked from the Navy. The ship with 19 crew members on board was enroute from Lagos to Cape Town. The time of the last received AIS position was 06.15 a.m.
The four crew members who were kidnapped from the 'Agisilaos' in the Gulf of Guinea in late November were released, it was announced on Jan 9, 2021, by the shipping company, Vangelis Marinakis. The ship was hijacked on Nove 29 while crossing the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Lomo, They were now safe and will undergo further medical examinations. The local authorities will be informed and then they will return to their families, where they will continue to receive full support. The Capital Ship Management thanked all those involved in securing their release. Due to the sensitive nature of the incident, there will be no further updates.
Armed guards aboard the 'MSC Elsa 3' on Jan 21, 2021, fired shots at attacking pirates while the ship was 49 nautical miles southeast of Brass. This caused the pirates to aboart the attack immediately and leave the place. According to security firm Ambrey, there were six or seven armed pirates on board the high-speed motorboat approaching the container ship at high speed. While the armed guards were getting ready for battle, the bulk of the ship's crew gathered in the citadel. The 'MSC Elsa 3' was en route from Lagos to Port Harcourt when the attack took place.
Iran’s foreign minister told a visiting South Korean delegation on Jan 11 that the release of the 'Hankuk Chemi' and its crew which have been seized by Iranian forces is a matter for the courts and out of the government’s hands. Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a meeting with South Korea’s first vice foreign minister that the Iranian government cannot intervene in the case, which is “under review in the legal and judicial framework.” Zarif reiterated the government’s claim that the vessel was confiscated by Iran over “environmental pollution.” But he urged South Korea to remove the restrictions on the Iranian funds, calling the frozen assets the “biggest barrier” to improving relations between the two nations. Iran maintains the tanker and its 20-member crew were stopped in the mouth of the Persian Gulf because of the vessel’s “environmental pollution” but its owner has rejected the claim. The crew, including sailors from Indonesia, Myanmar, South Korea and Vietnam, were remaining in custody at the port city of Bandar Abbas near the Strait of Hormuz. The South Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun and his delegation had arrived in Tehran on Jan 10 to discuss the release of the Korean vessel and the frozen Iranian assets. Iranian central bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati said his country would not accept South Korea resorting to US sanctions as the reason for continuing to hold the Iranian funds. Hemmati said he believed the South Korean delegation was determined to solve the problem.
The 'Maersk Cardiff' was pursued by a smaller ship with pirates approx. 150 nautical miles southwest of Bonny on Jan 13, 2021 at 7.50 p.m. UTC in pos. 02° 23N 005° 39E. The crew sheltered in the ship's citadel, but the pirates gave up their intention and all crew members were safe. THe pirates were then believed to have launched a second attack, potentially boarding the vessel four hours later. The 'Maersk Cardiff' was drifting near the site of the attack with a security boat at its side early on Jan 14.