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Three Crewmembers Abducted From Tanker off Lagos

Fecha de la noticias: 25/11/2020 • Publicada: 25/11/2020 

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BY?THE MARITIME EXECUTIVE?11-23-2020 01:00:29

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Three crewmembers have been abducted from a small tanker off the coast of Nigeria, the latest incident in an exceptionally busy year for piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.?

In the early hours of November 16, the Togo-flagged bunkering tanker?Stelios K?was under way for Lagos on a voyage from Athens. At a position about 40 nautical miles to the south of Lagos, she went dark and ceased reporting AIS, according to security consultancy Praesidium International. Later reports indicated that she had been boarded and taken over, and she was still in the custody of the attackers up until?at least November 19, Dryad Global reported.

The?Stelios K?has since been located, but the suspected pirates left the vessel and were not apprehended. Three crewmembers have been confirmed missing. The local authorities were notified, and a Nigerian Navy vessel is searching for the kidnappers, according to Praesidium.?

Other security consultancies have told maritime media that the?Stelios K"s?apparent hijacking may have resulted from a business dispute rather than a typical Nigerian kidnap-for-ransom scheme. The ship"s UAE-based owner has not commented on the circumstances of the case.?

The attack represents the 23rd kidnapping in the Gulf of Guinea so far this year, and it brings the total number of abductees to 118, according to a tally maintained by Dryad Global. The total includes two kidnappings within the span of just three days last week - the attack on the?Stelios K?and the abduction of 14 crewmembers from the heavy lift ship?Zhen Hua 7?on November 13.

"The Gulf of Guinea [High Risk Area] was raised to a critical risk rating following a sharp increase in incidents in the past week," cautioned Dryad. "Vessels are advised to exercise heightened caution in this region."

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