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Pirates attack Danish ship in Gulf of Guinea, kidnap crew

March 31, 2023

The French navy found the hijacked Monjasa Reformer in the Gulf of Guinea, but six members of its crew had been kidnapped.

A Danish-owned Liberian-flagged oil tanker Monjasa Reformer
The 135-metre-long Monjasa Reformer "sitting idle" when the pirates boardedImage: MONJASA/AFP

An oil and chemical tanker hijacked in the Gulf of Guinea has been located off the coast of Sao Tome and Principe, but part of the crew has been kidnapped, its owners said on Friday.

The Danish-owned Liberian-flagged Monjasa Reformer disappeared after pirates boarded it over the weekend.

The ship was 140 nautical miles off the coast of Congo and had 16 crew members on board. Six crew members were kidnapped by the pirates according to the French navy.

The navy found the ship on Thursday.

"The pirates had abandoned the vessel and brought a part of the crew members with them. The rescued crew members are all in good health and safely located in a secure environment," the ship's owners, Monjasa, said in a statement.

Dangerous shipping route

The Gulf of Guinea, stretching from Senegal to Angola, has long been plagued by piracy.

But in recent years, navies of West African countries, particularly Nigeria, and international navies, including the Danish, stepped up patrols in the region.

It contributed to a steady decline in incidents recorded by the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre.

Last year there were only 19 incidents reported compared to the 35 attacks in 2021 and 84 attacks in 2020.

The shipowners' organization Danish Shipping has, however, called for more action to be taken.

"The current situation clearly shows that most countries in the region do not have the necessary resources or capabilities to respond to such an incident," it said in a statement released earlier this week.

"We should therefore also consider what smaller contributions to increased training or surveillance Denmark can send while our naval vessels are occupied elsewhere," it said.

lo/sms (AFP, Reuters)