Six members of the 16-strong crew on a Liberian-flagged tanker are being held hostage by pirates who boarded the ship in the West African Gulf of Guinea last week, the Danish shipowner that owns the ship and the French Navy said on Friday with.
Pirates boarded the Monjasa Reformer southwest of Port Pointe-Noire, Congo, on March 25, and five days later the French Navy patrolling the area found the ship off the small island nation of Sao Tome and Principe, north of where it was had been attacked.
“The pirates left the ship and took part of the crew with them,” said company spokesman Thorstein Andreasen. It was not said how many had been kidnapped or how they were kidnapped.
After the pirates boarded the tanker, the crew took refuge in a citadel — a secure area on the ship — in accordance with the onboard anti-piracy emergency protocol. However, somehow the pirates managed to take some of them hostage. The nationalities of the crew members were not disclosed, nor was any information given as to where they were being held.
The pirates later abandoned the Monjasa Reformer, and a French Navy ship, Premier Maître L’Her, received a message from the remaining crew that six people had been kidnapped. The French ship rushed to the scene and treated three people with minor injuries.
PIRATES ATTACK SHIPS AND HOLD CREW MEMBERS HOSTAGE OFF WEST AFRICA
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The company spokesman said the crew members not taken hostage are “all in good health and safe in a safe environment and are receiving appropriate attention in the wake of these horrific events.”
No damage to the ship or its cargo was reported, Andreasen said. He did not give any further details.
After the attack, the Monjasa Reformer was escorted by a Nigerian ship to Lome, the capital of Togo, according to the French Navy.
The Gulf of Guinea is one of the world’s most dangerous locations for ship attacks. In June, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution strongly condemning piracy, armed robbery and hostage-taking in the region. This kidnapping took place further south in an area not normally attacked by pirates.
Operating in West Africa as part of Monjasa’s global marine fuel businesses, the Monjasa Reformer had on board marine gas oil, very low sulfur fuel oil and high sulfur fuel oil, the shipper said.
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