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Pirates hijack oil tanker off Gabon coast

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

A 23 248 t oil chemical tanker has been hijacked off the coast of Gabon, West Africa.

The tanker lost contact with its Turkish owner ‘Geden Lines’ after leaving Port Gentil in Gabon early Monday morning, a Turkish Foreign Ministry representative has indicated.

According to a statement released by crew manager of the vessel, V Ships, the 184 m, Malta flagged, MV Cotton, was awaiting berthing in the Gulf of Guinea at the time of the hijack.

The V Ships statement has additionally emphasised safety as an absolute priority. The firm insists that every effort is being made to secure the safe return of crew, which numbered 20; all are Indian. Company officials have informed the Turkish government, the Navy and other agencies and embassies about the hijack.

Satellite data showed the vessel heading northwards towards Nigeria in the early hours of Monday morning. Later in the day, Geden told Turkish officials that the vessel might have redirected its course towards the Ivory Coast.

Ahmet Riza Demirer, Turkish Ambassador to Gabon, has indicated that there is currently no contact with the crew. He has additionally outlined that the embassy is cooperating with Cameroon and Nigeria in efforts to resolve the issue.

Officials of the Directorate General of Shipping confirmed the incident but are awaiting further details. Information on the cargo of the ship and voyage details are not immediately available. At this stage, it is also unclear whether the ship’s hijackers have made any demand for ransom.

Edited from various sources by Emma McAleavey.

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