Container ship MAERSK TEMA attacked, Gulf of Guinea, Feb 15 UPDATES

Feb 15 UPDATE2: 1600 UTC – MAERSK TEMA heading for Lagos at some 13 knots speed (can’t sail at full steam?). Nigerian patrol vessel and Portugal Navy ship cruising around in attack area, hunting pirates? No news so far on crew condition, no details on attack events, the only thing sending out information seems to be AIS.

Feb 15 UPDATE1: 1130 UTC – MAERSK TEMA under way for about half an hour, at a slow speed of some 5 knots, escorted by SVS TEACH and Portugal Navy ship, destination unclear. No news on what happened and what’s situation on board, what’s crew condition.

Feb 15 UPDATE: As of 0400 UTC, container ship still adrift, with Nigerian patrol ship SVS TEACH (IMO 9686534) and Portugal Navy ship at her side. No new information available yet. Nigerian patrol ship SVS TEACH reached MAERSK TEMA in 15 hours after attack alert. Several hours later, she was joined by Portugal Navy ship. Several Nigerian security or patrol boats/ships were much closer to the distressed container ship, than SVS TEACH, but they stick to their assignments and didn’t respond.

1900 UTC UPDATE: The ship is still adrift, Nigerian patrol ship SVS TEACH (IMO 9686534) is steaming towards MAERSK TEMA, will approach her in probably, 2-3 hours. What’s going on? Either pirates are still on board, trying to break into citadel, or they already fled, looting the ship and damaging whatever equipment they could to disable the ship (with crew still being in citadel), or they broke into citadel and kidnapped all the crew, or those essential required to take under way?
There’s something strange in this attack – how did pirates manage to board container ship with high freeboard, sailing at 19+ knots speed, in the daylight? Somalia piracy history and experience taught us, that the ships sailing at 18 and above knots speed, plus high freeboard, were as good as impregnable, especially in the daytime. MAERSK TEMA was sailing from Pointe Noire Congo, will it be too far fetched to assume, that two perpetrators who were reported to appear on board, sneaked into the ship while she was docked at Congo?

1230 UTC UPDATE: Confirmed attacked ship is container ship MAERSK TEMA, reportedly at least two pirates managed to board her, crew said to shelter in citadel, the ship is adrift since time of attack, with AIS on and no navy or security ships/boats seen around.
Awaiting updates.
1030 UTC Feb 14: Cargo ship was attacked in Gulf of Guinea 110 nm NW of Sao Tome, at 0812 UTC Feb 14. It’s most probably, container ship MAERSK TEMA, en route from Pointe Noire Congo to Lagos Nigeria. She went NUC after attack, drifting, AIS is on.
Container ship MAERSK TEMA, IMO 9698264, dwt 65163, capacity 5466 TEU, built 2015, flag Marshall Islands, manager BERNHARD SCHULTE GMBH & CO KG.

Cargo ship was attacked in Gulf of Guinea in the morning Feb 14, name not revealed, but according to available information, it’s a 5,500 TEU container ship, she was attacked being under way. Awaiting ship’s ID confirmation, and more details.
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My name is Mikhail Voytenko, I’m Russian, professional merchant marine navigator, by education and former experience. I own and run Maritime Bulletin website for more than 10 years. I've been involved in solving a number of piracy hijack cases, including the hijack of ro-ro FAINA, loaded with tanks. It was me who made public, and unravel, freighter ARCTIC SEA mystery. I've been also closely involved in a number of maritime disaster, one of them being MSC FLAMINIA major fire.