Pirates release crew of Danish oil tanker kidnapped in Gulf of Guinea

Pirates release crew of Danish oil tanker kidnapped in Gulf of Guinea


Six crew members kidnapped by pirates last month from a Danish oil tanker off Congo have been rescued from Nigeria, the ship’s owner said Monday.

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

When the 135-metre-long (443-feet) tanker was found by the French navy the following week off the coast of Sao Tome and Principe in the Gulf of Guinea, the remaining crew said six of their colleagues had been kidnapped.

“All six crew members who were kidnapped from the oil tanker, Monjasa Reformer, are now safely recovered from an undisclosed location in Nigeria,” Monjasa said.

It did not specify if ransom was paid.

Monjasa CEO Anders Ostergaard said they “are in a relatively good health condition given the difficult circumstances they have been under in the last more than five weeks.”

“They have all been receiving medical checks and are now being repatriated to their home countries to reunite with their families,” he said.

Monjasa previously said it had lost contact with the crew after pirates boarded the ship.

“Unfortunately, this and other recent and similar hijackings in the Gulf of Guinea clearly demonstrates the need for joint international political action to face these issues once and for all,” Monjasa said.

Pirates have long been a risk in the Gulf of Guinea — a major shipping route stretching 5,700 kilometres (3,500 miles) from Senegal to Angola, with Nigerian gangs carrying out most attacks.

But since 2021, shippers say pirates have been raiding farther out in international waters.

Their violence and sophisticated tactics prompted pleas from shippers for a more robust foreign naval presence like the mission to curb attacks from Somali pirates a decade ago.

Many of the attacks in recent years have been carried out by Nigerian criminal gangs using speedboats from hideouts in the Niger Delta region.

Some gangs have captured larger fishing vessels which they use as base to raid further out to sea.

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