Nigerian Pirates Likely Hijacked Oil Tanker Off Angola's Coast, Expert Says

 @David_Kashi on January 27 2014 2:13 PM
  • Piracy
    A naval officer mans a machine gun on a boat off the Atlantic coast in Nigeria's Bayelsa state Dec. 19, 2013. Nigeria's navy has installed eight automated, camera-equipped surveillance towers in the waters just off its coast, in an effort to tackle a surge in pirate attacks and crude oil theft that have blighted Africa's top energy producer this year. Pirate attacks off Nigeria have jumped by a third this year as ships passing through West Africa's Gulf of Guinea, a major commodities route, have come under threat from gangs seeking to snatch cargoes or hold crews for ransom. Picture taken Dec. 19, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer
  • Piracy
    A machine gun is seen on a sandbag on a boat off the Atlantic coast in Nigeria's Bayelsa state December 19, 2013. Nigeria's navy has installed eight automated, camera-equipped surveillance towers in the waters just off its coast, in an effort to tackle a surge in pirate attacks and crude oil theft that have blighted Africa's top energy producer this year. Pirate attacks off Nigeria have jumped by a third this year as ships passing through West Africa's Gulf of Guinea, a major commodities route, have come under threat from gangs seeking to snatch cargoes or hold crews for ransom. Picture taken December 19, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer
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A Greek shipping company reestablished contact with the crew of one of its oil tankers after the vessel went missing earlier this month, the firm announced Monday.

Dynacom Tankers Management (DTM) on Jan. 18 lost contact with the tanker Kerala off the coast of Angola in western Africa and immediately initiated emergency response procedures after it became clear that the vessel had been hijacked.

“It quickly became apparent that we were dealing with a piracy incident and that the vessel had been hijacked,” the company said in a statement. “In accordance with good practice, we did not provide detailed press releases whilst the situation was unfolding, but worked alongside the relevant authorities to try to resolve the incident.”

On Sunday DTM reported that only one crew member was injured. For safety reasons, DTM withheld information regarding the injury and the size of the crew.

The company has a strong presence in the oil industry and delivers more than 1.8 million barrels of cargo daily, according to its website.

While worldwide piracy incidents declined in 2013, the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) International Maritime Bureau warned that the number of incidents in West Africa has remained the same and that they are becoming increasingly dangerous. Based in England, ICC is a membership organization tasked with combating all forms of commercial crime.

“In West Africa, the overall incidents haven’t drastically changed, but what is significantly different is that the number of incidences reported for Nigeria has increased,” Cyrus Mody, assistant director of ICC International Maritime Bureau, told International Business Times. “The distances at which the Nigerian pirates have gone and successfully hijacked vessels or boarded vessel and kidnapped crews … is a significant change since previous years,” he said.

West africa piracy attacks West Africa piracy reports.  International Chamber of Commerce/International Maritime Bureau

Mody pointed to the hijacking of an oil tanker in early 2013 some 70 miles off the Ivory Coast, in which Nigerian pirates were responsible. While it is unknown who the hijackers were in the most recent incident off Angola’s coast, Mody believes there's a high probability that it was related to Nigerian piracy.

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