Pirates seize Nigerian tanker off Cote d’Ivoire

Pirates seized a Nigerian tanker off Cote d’Ivoire last week, according to agency reports.
Armed men reportedly took control of Brila Energy’s 6,300-deadweight ITRI (built 1991) off Abidjan on Wednesday.
Local officials claim the vessel has now been released and is back under control of the crew in Ghanaian waters.
Details regarding the incident are still limited, but it was reported 16 seafarers were on board the tanker when the attack was launched.

Government authorities and maritime officials said Sunday that armed men had hijacked a tanker carrying 5,000 tons of oil from an Ivorient port and taken her off the coast of Ghana, though her precise whereabouts are unknown.
The Panamanian-flagged vessel ITRI was first seized last Wednesday as the tanker was preparing to deposit oil at the port in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire’s commercial capital, according to a statement from the Ivorien Government — communicating for the first time on the case only Sunday.
The statement said that officials located the vessel off neighbouring Ghana, and that authorities were mobilised.

The tanker, with the 16-member crew aboard, was listed as missing, according to Head of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Pirate Reporting Centre in Malaysia, Noel Choong.
He could not release information about the nationalities of the crew, but said that in many previous cases, the pirates released the crew after they had siphoned out the oil and obtained any valuable cargo.
Piracy is a new phenomenon off Cote d’Ivoire, with the first reported hijacking in October, last year, when a chemical tanker was taken.

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