Pirates have released eight crew members kidnapped from the Greek tanker Happy Lady back in December as the vessel was anchored off the port of Limboh in Cameroon, on the Gulf of Guinea.
The eight sailors, including the ship’s 45-year-old captain, were released following successful conclusions negotiations with the kidnappers, the Greek shipping ministry said in a statement.
The Happy Lady came under attack on December 28 as the ship was anchored approximately 2 miles offshore. Eight of the ship’s 28 crew members were abducted, comprising five Greek nationals, two Filipinos and one Ukrainian. Another Greek crew member was injured in the attack.
The release comes shortly after pirates released nineteen crew members kidnapped from the tanker MT DUKE which attacked while underway in Gulf of Guinea last month. Unfortunately, one crew member who was also abducted has died from an illness.
The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre has reported an unprecedented rise in the number of crew kidnappings in 2019 in the Gulf of Guinea region, with the number of kidnapped increasing more than 50 percent year-over-year to 121 reported kidnappings.
The figure represents 90 percent of crew kidnappings globabally in 2019. The region also accounted for 64 total incidents, including all four vessel hijackings that occurred in 2019, as well as 10 out of 11 vessels that reported coming under fire.
On Wednesday, the IMB reported that a containership had come under fire from a gang of 15 armed pirates in a speedboat off the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, marking the first reporting piracy incident in the region thus far this year. The ship was able to escape after an Nigerian naval guard on the containership returned fire.