PIRATES seized an oil tanker with over 20 crew off the coast of Nigeria, an official of the International Maritime Bureau said amid mounting concern at such attacks in West Africa. "We believe it's been hijacked and we believe there are about 25 crew on board," Cyrus Mody, a London-based manager with the world's piracy watchdog said on the phone today.
The attack occurred on October 30, he said.
A Nigerian vessel servicing an international oil firm was also attacked on the country's waters off the Niger Delta region on Wednesday, 02 November 2011 and its whereabouts were unclear, a security source said in the oil city of Port Harcourt.
Gunmen boarded the MT Halifax as it sat in waters off the coast of Port Harcourt, the main city in the oil-rich Niger Delta, the officials said. The kidnapped crew might have consisted of two Indians, an Italian and a Filipino but it remains unclear how many crew members were on board or if any have been injured.
The pirates sailed farther into the waters of Gulf of Guinea with the ship and have not yet been tracked by Nigerian security agencies, the officials said.
Incidents of hijacking are not new to the region. In July, pirates hijacked a Greek oil tanker with 20 crew members on board and release the ship a few days later. The latest string of pirate attacks has seen crews typically let go unharmed after the crude oil is stolen from the ships.
Benin, Togo and Ghana will hold a meeting in Cotonou next week to hammer out ways to end piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.