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7 Mar 2019

Drama as three Romanian sailors are kidnapped by pirates

Pirates have reportedly kidnapped three Romanian sailors aboard a tanker ship off Lome, Togo.

This was after sea robbers attempted to board a container ship owned by Singapore’s Pacific International Lines while the vessel was sailing on the high sea around Nigeria’s Niger Delta region on February 21.

According to the Romanian Free Trade Union of Navigators, the 40,500 deadweight tonnage tanker named “Histria Ivory” was attacked by the pirates some 20 miles from the Port of Lome.

They said after activating the alarm, the majority of the 21 Romanian sailors on board the ship mustered in the citadel, the pirates, however, kidnapped three crew members and escaped.

No injuries to the remaining crew members were reported.

After the pirates left, the 2006-built vessel was escorted by local authorities into the safe anchorage of Lomé. The vessel sustained damages during the hijack and needed to be repaired.

“The case is now under the responsibility of the competent entities that will take the appropriate measures to ensure that the sailors are released safely,” the union said.

At the time of the incident, the medium range 1 tanker was en route from Freetown to Monrovia, reports said.

The Histria Ivory continued its voyage to Monrovia, the ship’s AIS data showed.

The vessel is owned by Romania-based company Histria Ship Management.

On the attempt to board the PIL ship, Asian anti-piracy watchdog, ReCAAP said “more than four men armed with guns onboard an unlit fast boat” attempted to board the 3,889 Twenty Equivalent Unit Kota Satria on February 21.

ReCAAP said two of the perpetrators attempted to hook a ladder to the ship’s hull but were not successful and slowed down the pursuit.

The suspected armed robbers reportedly fired two gunshots toward the ship’s bridge and subsequently to the ship’s accommodation.

“Kota Satria’s master initiated security procedure and contacted company security officer as well as the company’s armed escort vessel and the Nigerian Navy and carried out evasive manoeuvre. Consequently, the fast boat aborted the pursuit.

“There were no injuries to the ship’s crew and no damage to the vessel reported. In addition, no items were stolen,” ReCAAP said.

After the incident, the post-Panamax box ship met an armed escort ship and proceeded to Onne Port in Rivers State.

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