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Missing tanker taken by pirates of Guinea, owner confirms; Latest report says they have been released

Missing tanker taken by pirates, owner confirms
17 January 2018

The tanker ‘MT Barrett’, that went missing earlier this week while anchored off Benin, West Africa, has been subject of a piracy attack in Gulf of Guinea, since Wednesday 10th January, the owner company Union Maritime confirmed in an official statement.

The company alerted the local authorities, after it lost connection with the vessel last Wednesday.

Initial suggestions reported a strong possibility that the tanker had been hijacked, in order for its cargo to be stolen.

“The company continues to work with all relevant parties to ensure the situation is resolved successfully and as quickly as possible. Our primary concern remains the 22 crew on board and ensuring their safety,” the London-based company said.

The MT Barrett is a 11999-dwt tanker built 2005 and registered in the Marshall Islands.

Increasing piracy threat in West Africa has been a main area of concern in the past year, with Nigeria taking the lead on attacks and kidnapping reports. The company said it regularly operates in this region and has a rigorous safety and security protocol.

Union Maritime tanker and 22 crew released by pirates
Grant Rowles 17 Jan 2018

All 22 crew members from the vessel are safely back in Lagos, Nigeria where they were met by senior representatives of Union Maritime and the technical managers of the vessel.

The exact nature of the incident and how it was resolved were not revealed, only that the pirated made contact with the company on Friday three days after its disappearance and that the vessel was released Tuesday.

“We are focused now on supporting the crew and their families,” the company said.

AIS data from MarineTraffic shows the vessel is now anchored off Lagos and scheduled to depart for Cotonou, Benin where the vessel was located when it disappeared.