Pirates release kidnapped seafarers in Gulf of Guinea 

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Pirates release kidnapped seafarers in Gulf of Guinea 

Abiola Seun

Three crew from the Roll on Roll Off (RORO) vessel, Elobey VI and a further seven crew from the MSC operated Talia F were released from captivity after pirates had taken the seafarers hostage off the West African coast on 21 March and 22 March, respectively.

Security consultancy Dryad Global told Container News that the crew had been released on either the 1st or 2nd May, the exact date is unclear, the company added.

“The release was however two days prior to the attacks on the Amerger II and Amerger VII off Gabon.

“This would indicate with a realistic probability that there was the same pirate action group operating from within Nigeria and specifically targeting the waters off Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and potentially out as far as the Sao Tome – Nigeria Joint Development Zone.”

It is unclear whether MSC and the Elobey VI’s registered owner Somagec, which is registered in Morocco, paid a ransom for the crew’s release, though sources close to the ship operators said it was likely that a ransom had been paid.

The sources added that the crew had been held near Calabar, Cross River State in Nigeria. No other information is currently available.

According to Dryad Global, the six crew were taken hostage from the Amerger II and Amerger VII trawlers, on the 3rd May, 20 nautical miles off the coast of Libreville, Gabon.

Three crew from each vessel are being held, it is understood that they are three Indonesians, two Senegalese and one South Korean.

On the 19th April, Portuguese registered, German owned container ship Tommi Ritscher was attacked and eight crew taken hostage. There is currently no word regarding these seafarers who apparently remain in captivity.

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