A tanker with 16 crewmembers and loaded with 5,000 tons of jet fuel has been hijacked in the Gulf of Guinea, Ivory Coast port officials said Monday.
According to a statement by officials at the Port of Abidjan, the Panamanian-flagged ITRI was seized last Wednesday by gunmen as the vessel was preparing to offload its cargo at the Ivory Coast Port. The ITRI, which was last seen off the coast of Ghana, is now missing.
The 6,330DWT ITRI is owned by Lagos-based Brila Energy.
“The vessel is still missing and the hijackers whose sole objective is to steal the cargo of Jet A1 on board the vessel are yet to make any demands,” Brila Chairman, Rowaye Jubril, told The Associated Press in an e-mail. He added that all 16 crew members were Nigerian.
The incident is the latest in a surge of increasingly sophisticated attacks off the oil-rich coast of Nigeria in the Gulf of Guinea. According to figures by the International Maritime Bureau, 10 vessels with a total of 207 crew were seized in the Gulf of Guinea in 2012. Unlike their Somali pirate counterparts, Nigerian pirates typically attack vessels with the goal of stealing cargo rather than holding vessels for ransom.
Editorial: Pirate Horizons in the Gulf of Guinea