Pirates seize petrol-laden 75,678 dwt BW Rhine while at anchor off Togo
THE Singapore-managed 75,678-dwt BW Rhine, loaded with petrol, has been taken by pirates while at anchor off Lome, Togo, reports the London-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB). Tuesday, 08.May.2012, 01:32 (GMT+3)
THE Singapore-managed 75,678-dwt BW Rhine, loaded with petrol, has been taken by pirates while at anchor off Lome, Togo, reports the London-based International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
IMB director Potengal Mukundan told Agence France Presse that warships from neighbouring countries have been alerted and are searching for the ship, which has 24 crew members and was reported missing last week.
The status of the tanker was not known, said Nick Fell, Singapore-based lawyer for BW Maritime, reports Bloomberg. The last contact the company had with the ship's crew was on April 30, he said.
The vessel carried refined fuel oil when hijacked. BW Maritime said that the company had been working with local navies to locate the ship and had sailed to West Africa from Ventspils, Latvia.
Meanwhile, Capt Mukundan, who was in Kuala Lumpur for a series of meetings with industry and government players, said in similar cases the pirates would transfer the petrol to other ships and for re-sale.
"Here we have criminal gangs whose main purpose is to steal multi-million cargo, which is gasoline, as it has a ready market. It is very easy to dispose of it. There has been an underground trade in the Gulf of Guinea for decades," he told AFP.
Capt Mukundan said in 2012, there had been 19 attacks off the Gulf of Guinea, West Africa, with two vessels hijacked. Some 42 crew have been taken hostage, two crewmembers killed and two kidnapped by pirates.
He warned the safety of seafarers continue to be threatened by pirates and urged vessel masters and owners to alert IMB of any incidents and of suspicious vessels.