Five crew members of a general cargo ship owned and operated by Singapore’s Pacific International Lines (PIL) have been kidnapped by armed men off Cotonou, Benin Republic.
The attack took place on Thursday, July 2, the same day an armed group of pirates kidnapped seven crew members of FPSO Sendje Berge, offshore Nigeria.
The kidnapped crew, including the master of the multipurpose vessel named ‘Kota Budi’ are all Chinese nationals.
“Five Chinese crew members including the master were taken from the vessel and presumed kidnapped. The vessel and remaining 15 crew members on board are safe and healthy, and additional measures have been put in place to ensure their safety and the well-being of all on board.
“PIL is currently working with the flag state, local authorities and contacts to establish the whereabouts of the missing master and crew, and is taking strenuous and urgent steps to ensure their well-being and safe return,” PIL said in an emailed statement.
“This is the 7th incident in the waters off Benin within 2020. This latest kidnapping brings the total number of kidnapped personnel in maritime incidents off West Africa in 2020 to 80. Incidents of kidnapping are currently tracking at 26% higher in 2020 than in 2019,” Dryad Global said.