Pirates kidnap 19 crew members from Greek tanker off Nigeria

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ATHENS (Information) – Pirates have kidnapped 19 crew members from a crude oil tanker off Nigeria, an official with the ship’s operator mentioned on Thursday, in one other signal of worsening piracy within the area.

The loaded vessel, the Nave Constellation, was attacked 77 nautical miles off Bonny island late on Dec. three and the crew – 18 Indians and one Turk – had been seized, the official mentioned.

One other seven crew members stay on board the vessel. Neither the vessel nor the cargo had been broken, the official mentioned.

The transport trade has warned in latest months in regards to the growing risks confronted by seafarers crusing by way of the Gulf of Guinea area, notably round Nigeria, with a higher deal with kidnappings by pirate gangs.

The Worldwide Maritime Bureau watchdog mentioned in October the Gulf of Guinea accounted for greater than 4 fifths of crew kidnappings globally.

Maritime safety officers say over the previous yr there was a rising shift by pirate gangs within the Gulf of Guinea and particularly Nigeria towards kidnapping crews relatively than stealing cargoes, aiming to extract ransom from ship homeowners for crews being held and subjected to violence.

The Hong Kong-flagged supertanker, able to carrying as much as 2 million barrels of oil, is operated by Greek transport firm Navios Tankers Administration.

“We’re doing every little thing essential to make it possible for the 19 crew members will return secure,” the official at Navios mentioned, including that their households have been knowledgeable.

An Indian authorities supply mentioned its mission in Nigeria had taken up the matter of the kidnappings of with the Nigerian authorities and safety businesses.

The vessel was carrying crude for Indian refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp, a supply on the firm mentioned.

Nigerian Navy commander Kolawole Oguntuga mentioned the vessel, which loaded Shell Bonny Mild, was hijacked quickly after leaving the terminal including that the ship didn’t request a navy escort to offer them with ample safety.

Reporting by Renee Maltezou in Athens, Jonathan Saul in London, Nidhi Verma and Devjyot Ghoshal in New Delhi and Tife Owolabi in Yenagoa, Enhancing by Alison Williams