Pirates Release Kidnapped Crew From Liberian Flagged Tanker After One Month In Captivity

Last month, six crew members were kidnapped by pirates from a Denmark-based oil tanker off the Republic of Congo. They have been rescued in Nigeria, per the ship’s owner.

The Liberian-flagged vessel dubbed the Monjasa Reformer had 16 sailors when pirates attacked it on 25 March. Despite being owned by a Danish major, none of the crew members were Danish.

When the 135-meter-long tanker was discovered by France’s navy the following week off the coast of Sao Tome and Principe in the Gulf of Guinea, the rest of the crew mentioned that six of their colleagues were kidnapped.

Danish Oil Tanker
Representation Image

The six crew members kidnapped from Monjasa Reformer were safely recovered from an undisclosed location based in Nigeria, per Monjasa on Monday.

It did not mention if a ransom had to be paid.

Anders Ostergaard, Monjasa CEO, mentioned that they are in stable health condition, given the dire circumstances they’ve been under in over five weeks.

The shipping firm had earlier said it had lost touch with the crew members since the pirates boarded the vessel.

These pirate attacks have long been a significant risk in the Gulf of Guinea, a crucial shipping channel stretching about 5,700km to Angola from Senegal. But since 2021, the shippers say pirates have been raiding farther in international waters.

Their sophisticated tactics and violence prompted pleas from shippers for a more holistic foreign naval presence, like the mission to prevent attacks from Somali pirates about a decade back.

Several of these attacks in recent years have been conducted by Nigerian criminal gangs with the help of speed boats from hideouts in the Delta area.

But the region that experiences a lot of traffic from oil tankers has experienced a lull in activities in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era.

Per a Maritime Information Cooperation and Awareness Center report, three vessels were attacked in the zone in 2022, compared to 26 in 2019.

So far, two more attacks have been recorded in this region this year.

References: Aljazeera, bnn

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