Piracy in West Africa: Hijacked Crew in West African Coast Freed by Pirates / Africa News


An oil tanker ship and its 24 crew members believe to be Indians have been freed by high seas robbers known as pirates after the oil tanker was hijacked off the Gabon coast last week.

The Maltese-flagged Cotton oil tanker vessel was seized on July 15 near Gabon’s Port Gentil in the first reported attack in that area in over the past five years now.

The vessel operator, Geden Lines, believed to be a Turkish, told reporters on Monday that the pirates had left the vessel in the early hours of the morning and its captain had resumed command to its destination.

“The master has confirmed that all 24 Indian crew members are safe and in good condition, the vessel is now on her way to a secure port,’’ Mr. Lines told reporters.

In East Africa, many ships can move past at high speed with armed guards on board to protect crew members but in West Africa, many vessels have to anchor off the West African coastal nations, with little protection, making them a soft target for criminals.

Meanwhile, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) watchdog committee has cautioned all vessels especially those who route through off the West African coast popularly known as the Gulf of Guinea to be vigilant since they are at risk of being attacked by pirates.

The Gulf of Guinea region include waters off Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Ghana and stretches as far as to Ivory Coast which is a significant source of cocoa, oil and metals for world markets and pirates use the area for their activities.

“All vessels operating in the Gulf of Guinea should remain aware of and prepared for the risk of armed robbery, hijack and kidnap for ransom for the foreseeable future,” security firm AKE on behalf of the International Maritime Bureau was quoted as saying in a special report.

Piracy in the West African Coast is prevalent but little is being done by the International Navy and local navies in the area to stop the practice.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News

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