Four crew members of an unnamed Singapore-flagged tug/supply vessel were kidnapped on October 29, some 60 nautical miles south of the Republic of Congo, West Africa, Asian piracy watchdog ReCAAP informed.
A group of 10 perpetrators armed with guns boarded the anchored ship, assaulted the crew and damaged the ship’s radio equipment, before abducting the vessel’s master, chief engineer, chief officer and a member of the deck crew.
The abducted crew were taken to a Panama-flagged tanker, previously hijacked by pirates, and reportedly proceeding to Nigeria, ReCAAP said.
It has been reported that the vessel’s 2nd engineer and oiler sustained minor injuries as a result of a scuffle with the perpetrators. The remaining crew was safe. No items were stolen from the ship.
“The company’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) was activated and the ship with the remaining 11 crew on board has been directed to proceed to the port of Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo,” ReCAAP added.
As informed, the company had arranged for a medical team to board the ship to assess the crew’s health condition and provide assistance and emotional support.
The local authorities are said to have established contact with the ship.
“The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore had contacted the relevant authorities and sought the assistance of the Nigerian Navy to keep a lookout for the tanker and the abducted crew,” ReCAAP concluded.
Another ship was attacked on the same day off Congo. As World Maritime News reported, an LPG tanker carrying out bunkering operations on October 29, around 101 nautical miles West of Pointe Noire, the Republic of the Congo, was approached and fired upon by pirates in a speed boat.
The LPG tanker was forced to stop bunkering procedure and cast off in order to avoid being boarded.
The master employed evasive manoeuvres and increased speed, managing to escape the pirates.
All crew members are reported to be safe.