A Danish ship – the Monjasa Reformer, was boarded by pirates offshore Congo on Saturday March 25, and later found on Thursday March 30 off the coast of Sao Tome and Principe in the Gulf of Guinea by the French Navy vessel, Premier Maître L’Her.
It is believed 5 armed attackers boarded the vessel whilst it was idling roughly 140NM west of Pointe Noire, Congo before hijacking the tanker, with some reports saying they were heading for Nigeria.
The French naval vessel received a distress message on Thursday evening from Monjasa Reformer having earlier located her using an aerial drone which showed the pirate’s vessel still alongside. The vessel was approximately 90nm south of Bonny, Nigeria and the distress message indicated that 6 crew members had been kidnapped.
“The rescued crew members are all in good health and safely located in a secure environment and receiving proper attention following these dreadful events,” Monjasa said in a statement. It was later reported 3 of the remaining crew had suffered minor injuries which were treated onboard.
“Our thoughts are with the crew members still missing and their families during this stressful period,” Monjasa said, adding that it was “working closely with the local authorities” to ensure the sailors’ safe return. The owner said there was no reported damage to the vessel or cargo.
The shipowner said the crew had initially notified the company that manages the vessel that pirates had boarded and that the entire crew, believed to number 16, was safe in the tanker’s citadel, “in accordance with the onboard anti-piracy emergency protocol”. It said communications were then lost.
No details have been released on the nationality or rank of the kidnapped crew as at the time of this report. Monjasa Reformer was escorted to Lomé, Togo by the French Navy vessel.
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