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Loss of Comms With Tanker Off Benin; Suspected Hijacked

January 13, 2018 - 08:55:16 UTC

Loss of Communication With Vessel MT Barrett off Benin

THE Union Maritime vessel, MT Barrett, a product tanker which was at anchor off Benin, West Africa has not been heard from since late on Tuesday 9th January, states Union Maritime, London-based tanker/owner company, press release. Reports suggest the vessel has been hijacked.

MT Barrett - Photo: Fleetmon

On Wednesday, Union Maritime alerted local maritime authorities and are reported to be exploring all possible options and efforts as they continuously monitor the situation.

Whilst Union Maritime are tirelessly working to locate the vessel, they went on to say that the primary concern is for the 22 crew on board and ensuring their safety.

Union Maritime regularly operates from ports in this region and states it has a rigorous safety and security protocol. Crews are repeatedly drilled in all safety and emergency procedures.

MT Barrett (IMO: 9351749) is a 11999-dwt tanker built 2005 and registered in the Marshall Islands.

Further updates will be provided as soon as they become available, says Union Maritime.

No major piracy attacks have occurred in Benin waters since 21 incidents were recorded in 2011. Eighty percent of Benin's budget is generated through the port of Cotonou. The Benin Navy has patrol boats, however, it is unlikely the number of boats are able to effectively patrol the EEZ for 24 hours a day.

Benin Waters have been categorised as 'high risk' by insurers for a number of years. The last known position of the Barrett is at the limit of the monitoring station, out to 75 nautical miles.

UPDATE: Union Maritime confirmed the tanker had been hijacked by pirates following communication with the perpetrators on 12 Jan.

The vessel and crew were reported safe following release on 16 jan. The vessel is reported to be anchored off Lagos, Nigeria.

Original Source: Union Maritime