Nine sailors abducted from #Norwegian vessel by pirates

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A vessel owned by Norwegian shipping firm JJ Ugland was boarded by pirates while at anchor off the coast of Benin yesterday and nine crew members were kidnapped, the company has said.

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The remaining crew on the MV Bonita notified local authorities, and the vessel docked at the port city of Cotonou later yesterday, the company said.

“The Ugland Emergency Response Team are handling this situation as per contingency plans, and they are in contact with relevant authorities. … The families of the crew members have been contacted and will be kept informed by Ugland,” it said in a statement.

“Further updates will be given as and when new confirmed information is available and releasable.”

Port authorities in Cotonou also confirmed that nine sailors have been abducted.

“The Autonomous Port of Cotonou regrets to inform you that Saturday morning, November 2, 2019, an act of piracy took place in the harbour area,” authorities said in a statement.

The ship was attacked “about nine miles off the entrance to the port and eight crew members plus the ship’s captain were abducted,” the port authorities said.

Other crew members, who are safe and sound, are currently being interviewed as an investigation is under way.

The Gulf of Guinea, which extends from Cameroon to Liberia, has become one of the most dangerous maritime regions in the world.

The attacks on ships and the abductions of crew for ransom have become more frequent, especially along the Nigerian coast where the pirates come from.

The pirates sometimes divert ships for several days, long enough to plunder the cargo and demand huge ransoms before freeing the crew.

Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, where Nigeria and Angola, the two main oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa, are located has seriously disrupted international maritime transport essential to the continent at a cost of billions of dollars.

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