A crew member was reported as missing after a Greek-flagged chemical tanker was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea off western Africa on Thursday.
The Filipino national was one of 21 crew members aboard the ship, with the other crew members all reportedly being in good health on Friday.
The 21 crew members, however, managed to hide in the Citadel – a safe part of the ship that is inaccessible from the outside after it is secured. The pirates raided the vessel and made off with whatever loot they could find before the Benin coast guard arrived on the scene.
It was still not clear if the missing crew member was abducted or fell into the sea.
The ship’s management company said the ship was heading to Lagos, Nigeria, with the Minerva Virgo being boarded by pirates some 72 kilometers off the coast of Benin, on its trip from The Netherlands.
This is the third boarding incident off Benin in 2020. It is also the second incident within 24hrs in the area, according to maritime security firm Dryad Global.
In the latest of them, pirates kidnapped a total of ten crew members from the crude oil tanker ‘Alpine Penelope’ while underway off Cotonou, on 20 February.
“It is assessed as highly likely that the perpetrators of both incidents are the same grouping and are highly likely to have originated from within Nigerian waters,” Dryad Global says.