After a four days under the control of west African pirates, BW Shipping reports that the product tanker, BW Rhine, has been released off Nigeria by its captors. All 24 crew members are safe.
“We are all very relieved and our immediate priority is to ensure the wellbeing of our employees,” says BW Maritime CEO Andreas Sohmen-Pao.
Communcations were re-established with the vessel as of 0630 UTC on Friday. The Master of BW Rhine, Captain Dheeraj Sharma, confirmed that the vessel has been held under duress while the cargo was being stolen.
BW Rhine is currently enroute to a nearby port, where support services have been arranged for the crew upon arrival.
This is not the first pirate-related incident faced by BW Shipping. Last November, the BW Danube was nearly hijacked by a 8 pirates while transiting the Gulf of Aden. The onboard security team, coupled with vigilant watchstanders, led to the successful defense of the ship.
In the case of the BW Rhine however, this is the first known hijack case of this nature in Lome, Togo, and it is unlikely a security team was on board at the time.
The attack took place at a patrolled anchorage with a large number of other vessels in the area. A thorough investigation of the incident will be undertaken in the coming weeks and BW Shipping requests that respect is given to the privacy of the crew and their families after their ordeal.