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Gulf of Guinea: sailors of an oil tanker taken hostage by pirates

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The Liberian-flagged Danish tanker attacked final weekend within the Gulf of Guinea has been situated and rescued off the coast of Sao Tome and Principe, however a part of the crew has been kidnapped, its proprietor introduced on Friday.

The Monjasa Reformer was situated Thursday by the French Navy, however solely a few of the 16 crew members had been nonetheless on board, the Monjasa firm mentioned in an announcement.

When the French troopers arrived, “the pirates had deserted the ship and brought a few of the crew members with them”, defined the Danish shipowner. “The opposite rescued crew members are in good well being and a secure atmosphere,” he mentioned.

The shipowner gave no particulars on the variety of hostages and their nationality. Contacted by AFP, the corporate primarily based in Fredericia in Denmark didn’t want to give particulars.

“Our hearts exit to the crew members nonetheless lacking and their households at this nerve-racking time,” Monjasa mentioned in his assertion, including “to work intently with native authorities” to safe the sailors’ return.

No injury was noticed on the boat or on its cargo of gas. The 135m-long ship had been attacked on Saturday night about 140 nautical miles off the Congolese port of Pointe-Noire.

The announcement of the assault had solely been made by the shipowner on Tuesday, after three days with out information from the crew. The latter had had time to point that he had taken refuge in an anti-piracy “citadel” on the ship earlier than contact was misplaced.

Analysis had since taken place on this sector of the jap Gulf of Guinea. In accordance with the Congolese authorities joined Tuesday by AFP, the assault was dedicated by three males.

However in accordance with the Franco-British mission MDAT-GoG ( “Maritime Area Consciousness for Commerce Gulf of Guinea” ), it was a skiff with 5 pirates that carried out the assault.

An important maritime route bordering international locations wealthy in hydrocarbons, the Gulf of Guinea, which stretches 5,700 km between Senegal and Angola, was for a number of years the brand new black spot of world piracy.

However the assaults have dropped not too long ago due to the joint efforts of coastal international locations and European states. Denmark, a serious service provider navy energy through its big Maersk, notably despatched a frigate within the fall of 2021.

In 2022, solely round twenty skirmishes had been recorded within the Gulf of Guinea, in accordance with the Maritime Info Cooperation & Consciousness Heart. There have been 52 in 2021 and 115 in 2020, in accordance with the maritime safety professional physique primarily based in Brest in France.

Because the starting of the yr, two assaults have been reported within the space, the final on March 2, in accordance with the Worldwide Maritime Bureau (IMB).

The Monjasa Reformer affair reveals that “piracy issues off the west coast of Africa are removed from being resolved”, the Danish Shipowners Affiliation mentioned on Tuesday.

The service provider marine group is especially involved to see the assaults begin to rise once more, the Western armies refocusing on Europe with the struggle in Ukraine.

A lot of the assaults in recent times have been carried out by Nigerian thugs attacking ships in quick boats. Some have captured bigger fishing vessels which they use as bases for his or her speedboats to raid additional out to sea.