Sources: BBC News/OCEANUSLive Correspondent
Armed men have seized an oil tanker off Ivory Coast's main city, Abidjan, officials say. The Panamanian-flagged vessel, ITRI, was attacked as it prepared to deposit 5,000 tons of oil, the AP news agency reports.
MT Itri hijacked off Abidjan Photo: Shipspotting.com
The Panama-flagged tanker was hijacked off Abidjan, Ivory Coast with a of crew of 16 Nigerians on 16 January. The attack is believed to have occurred at 2200 hrs local time.
The tanker was preparing to deposit oil at the port of Abidjan, Ivory Coast's commercial capital, said a statement from the Ivory Coast government — communicating on the case on Monday.
The ship had trouble docking initially as a sand storm had reduced visibility, a government statement said. The ship's captain is reported to have radioed the port manager to report difficulty in manoeuvering. Shortly afterwards, contact was lost with the vessel. The ship consignee, Koda Maritime, informed the port officials that armed men had taken control of the tanker.
The statement said officials located the vessel off neighbouring Ghana, and that authorities were mobilized.
Sources stated the tanker, MV ITRI, built in 1991, is owned and managed by Brila Energy of Lagos, Nigeria, was reported in position 05:09.79N - 004:10.86W, approximately 10nm off the coast on 17 January but the status of the vessel and 16 Nigerian crewmembers is unknown and no demands have been made as yet..
There has been a sharp increase in pirate attacks in recent years in West Africa.
But most of these have taken place off the Nigerian coast, where oil is often stolen to be sold on the black market.
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Submitted by Team@oceanuslive.org