duke oil tanker

Gulf of Guinea Pirates Release Crew Members Kidnapped from MT DUKE

Mike Schuler
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January 21, 2020

MT Duke (IMO: 9262259). Photo: MarineTraffic.com/

Pirates have released nineteen crew members kidnapped from a tanker in Gulf of Guinea last month, the vessel’s owner says. Unfortunately, one crew member who was also abducted has died from an illness.

Union Maritime’s clean product tanker MT DUKE was attacked by pirates on December 15 while underway from Angola to Togo. After boarding the ship, the pirates made off with 20 of the ship’s 21 crew members, leaving behind one Nigerian national.

The 20 crew members abducted were all of Indian nationality.

The crew member who died, an AB, became ill shortly after he was taken hostage.

“It is with great regret that we have to report that one valued crew member, an Able Seaman, was evidently taken ill and died shortly after capture. We are seeking further information from those crew members that have been released and a full investigation will be held into the AB’s demise,” Union Maritime’s statement said.

“All the crew who have been released have undergone medical checks and are reported to be well, given the circumstances of their ordeal,” it added.

The Gulf of Guinea saw an unprecedented rise in the number of crew kidnappings in 2019, the IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre said in releasing its 2019 annual report last week. In 2019, the number of crew kidnappings in the GoG region jumped more than 50 percent to 121, representing 90 percent crew kidnappings globally in 2019, the report said.

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