Pirates Raid Tanker, Kidnap 23 Sailors in West Africa

By MarEx 2011-09-14 12:31:52

Pirates attacked a tanker on Wednesday off the West African coast, kidnapping the 23 crewmembers onboard.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, pirates boarded the tanker as it idled 62 nautical miles from Benin’s capital of Cotonos. The Cyprus-flagged tanker was struck while it was transferring its cargo of crude oil to a Norwegian-flagged ship.

The tanker and crew have been taken to an unknown location. The same pirates attacked the Norwegian ship as well, however the ship’s crew managed to thwart off the pirates by locking themselves into a strong room.

Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is becoming a growing problem; officials are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of incidents and the level of violence included in the attacks. Lloyd’s Market Association just recently listed Nigeria and Benin in the same risk category as Somalia for pirate attacks.

Just last week pirates attempted to attack a Japanese-operated chemical tanker in the Strait of Malacca. The GINGA FALCON was anchored in port waters of Indonesia’s Pulau Karimun Besar Island when it was attacked. Pirates fled when the ship’s crew raised the alarm. Also last week, pirates attacked a yacht with a French couple onboard off the coast of Yemen. The husband was killed in the attack and his wife was taken hostage. United States Navy maritime patrol aircraft located the pirate skiff with the missing French woman and Spanish warship, SPS GALICIA intercepted the vessel. The woman was immediately rescued and the pirates taken into custody.