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Pirates nab vessel in Nigeria

September 5, 2012

A Singaporean vessel has been taken over by pirates in Nigeria, according to a maritime organization. It is the latest in a spate of hijackings in the Gulf of Guinea.

Abu Dhabi Star http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Abu_Dhabi_Star.JPG
Image: cc-by:Olbertz-sa

Pirates in Nigeria have seized an oil tanker owned by Singapore, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said Wednesday.

The tanker, which had 23 crew on board and was packed with fuel, was hijacked in the major Nigerian port of Lagos, according to the IMB. The center, which works "to protect the integrity of international trade", added that the pirates were directing the vessel, called Abu Dhabi Star, into open waters.

"We have informed the Nigerian authorities who are taking action," Noel Choong, head of the IMB's Malaysia-based piracy reporting center, said to AFP.

The crew had locked themselves inside a safe room on board, said Choong.

"We are concerned about their safety and the spate of hijackings," he added, in reference to the fact that the incident constitutes the third such attack in just over two weeks in the Gulf of Guinea. Pirates seized two oil tankers just off Togo, located east of Nigeria, in August. The two ships and all those on board were later freed.

Overall, the region has been the location of 37 attacks so far this year, which have, ostensibly, been commercially-motivated; pirates have tended to seize cargo on board to sell it on the black market.

sej/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)