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Seasearcher rapidly identified pirated MSC vessel off the coast of Benin  

Seasearcher identified a vessel which has been taken over by pirates off the coast of Cotonoun in Benin, with very limited information our data was so accurate we could pin point which vessel was involved in the incident.

Information had been received from Lloyd’s List that an incident had occurred on a Mediterranean Shipping Company container vessel, after midnight on the 2nd January 2019 about 50 nm south coast of Cotonou in Benin.

MSC gave a statement to our Lloyd’s List editorial team.

“MSC confirms that a small containership was attacked on January 2 in the Gulf of Guinea and several crew members were reported as missing,” the company said in a statement.

The Geneva-based company has reported the safety of the remaining seafarers on board, and has secured the vessel and its cargo.

“Out of respect for the missing crew members and their families, MSC has no further comment for the time being.”

Using the Seasearcher area analysis tool the data team immediately identified the vessel as the MSC Mandy. Lloyd’s List did not include the vessel name in the report since family members of the crew had not been contacted by MSC.

How did Seasearcher do this? 

In this case we had very limited information about the incident, however Seasearcher enabled us to identify all possible candidates and to filter the results down to the specific vessel.

We used the “ Box Detection” tool which allows you to draw a specified region on the map “about 50 nm south of Contonou Benin”.

 Seasearcher map

The incident was stated to have occurred after midnight on the 2nd January 2019.

An area alert query was run to identify any vessel that had broadcast AIS within the area “Box Detection”

To ensure the correct vessel is not missed a wide period of 1-Jan-2019 to 3-Jan-2019 was selected

Clicking the Search button identifies 30 qualifying vessels.


Using the time of the incident and 2 day date range and location the search element Seasearcher identified 30 qualifying vessels.

Search area graph

The list of 30 qualifying vessels is displayed for review or exporting to Excel.

List of all vessels 

Since we know the vessel the pirates took over was MSC, Seasearcher excluded the all other vessels and displayed only the MSC vessels in that area.

List of 3 vessels 

As Seasearcher tracks historical and current routes it was clear from the system that only MSC Mandy was near the box just after midnight on 2 Jan 2019.

Map highlighting position of nearby vessels

Seasearcher tracking of the MSC Mandy route is consistent with the event described in the initial report from MSC.

Map highlighting the position of the vessel 


Find out more about how Seasearcher provides exceptional reliable vessel tracking across the globe. 


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