News & Events

Fishing Vessel Seized by Pirates

Last weekend, a fishing vessel was hijacked. It had been working in the waters of the Ivory Coast, where it was licensed to operate. On May 14, pirates attacked. The international crew of 18 fishermen were taken hostage. The pirates destroyed the telecommunications equipment, hoping to escape undetected, and then fled the scene.

The Shipowner Contacts CLS for Help

The shipowner in China was worried when he lost contact with the captain. He had had trouble getting in touch with the local agencies in the current context, so he turned to CLS. Our support teams got to work. On Saturday morning, working remotely, in one hour they set up an online FishWeb account for the owner. He was able to get more information on the hijacked fishing vessel and send it to the West African navies.

Vessel tracks
After rescue, the boat is being towed to the port in Lagos

In less than 24 hours after contacting CLS, the pirates were intercepted by the Nigerian Navy. Their dramatic rescue operation was successful: the fishermen’s lives were saved and the owner recovered his vessel intact. The pirates were arrested and will be prosecuted.

At CLS, we are relieved and delighted with this successful ending, and are proud to have contributed in any way possible. Fishing continues to be one of the most dangerous occupations, and we are committed to working for safer fishing.

Rapid, secure, reliable data sharing is also crucial to effective policing of the seas. The borders of a country’s Exclusive Economic Zone do not stop pirates or illegal fishers—effective enforcement requires information be shared among several states, owners, and agents.

During lockdown, maritime actors continue to operate, both for legal and illegal purposes, and so does CLS. Our operations and support teams were contacted on the weekend and had full access to all the data. In only 48 hours, the authorities were able to recover the vessel and its crew safely thanks to timely assistance from CLS staff.

With the global pandemic, the value of web-based platforms, securely accessible from anywhere in the world, and satellites, unaffected by events on Earth, have been proven beyond a doubt. CLS Operations Center continues to function as it always has, and our support teams and clients can access all the information they need, from anywhere it the world.