Pirates hijack oil tanker with 24 Indian crew off Gabon coast

MV Cotton,a Malta-flagged vessel,was taken over by suspected pirates 15 miles off Gentil Port.

Written by PTI | Mumbai | Published: July 17, 2013 11:45:55 am

An oil-chemical tanker with an all Indian crew of 24 has been hijacked off the coast of the West African nation Gabon,officials said here today.

MV Cotton,the Malta-flagged vessel,was taken over by suspected pirates 15 miles off the Gentil Port between 0100 hrs and 0200 hrs local time yesterday,a statement from V Ships,the crew manager for the vessel owned by a Turkish company,said.

The 2007-built ship was awaiting berthing in the Gulf of Guinea at the time of the hijack,they said. The vessel has a gross tonnage of 23,248 tonne and is 184 meter long.

Officials at the Directorate General of Shipping confirmed the incident but said they are awaiting further details.

Information on the cargo which the ship was carrying and the voyage details were not immediately available.

Company officials did not confirm if any demand for ransom has been made by the suspected sea brigands.

“Safety is the absolute priority of V-Ships and every effort is being made to secure the safe return of the crew,” the statement said.

Company officials informed the Turkish government and the Navy as well as other agencies and embassies about the hijack,it said.

According to experts,the waters off the coast of the African nation are not known to be pirate-infested even though there have been some stray incidents off the coast of Nigeria.

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