Pirates Release Three Tanker Crew Kidnapped Off Togo

Elka Aristotle tanker
MT Elka Aristotle. Photo: MarineTraffic.com/Peter Beentjes

reuters logo ATHENS, Dec 13 (Reuters) – Pirates have released three crew taken hostage from a Greek oil tanker off the coast of the West African country of Togo in November, the vessel’s manager said on Friday.

A fourth hostage, a Filipino, died from illness during captivity, European Products Carriers Ltd added.

It did not give details of the release.

The tanker, Elka Aristotle, was attacked on Nov. 4 about 18 km (11 miles) from the port of Lome. The pirates fled after kidnapping two Filipinos, one Greek and one Georgian.

The released men were safe and were “being debriefed by the local authorities prior to returning home to the Philippines, Greece and Georgia respectively,” the company said.

A full investigation had been launched into the death of the Filipino.

“It is understood that his demise was not as a result of any actions by those holding the crew hostage but due to illness,” European Products Carriers said in a statement.

While piracy has decreased worldwide, West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea is a high-risk area for abductions and armed robbery.

Armed guards were present on the Greek boat and tried to fight off the attackers and one was wounded, the Togo navy had said. (Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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