Tanker is suspected of being hijacked
Anglo Eastern has lost signal of a product tanker, which last made contact at Cotonou anchorage in Benin in West Africa. According to the ship operator, the 45,989-DWT Marine Express carried a load of approximately 13,500 tonnes of petrol at time of the latest contact at 03.30 on 1 February.
"We have contacted all the competent authorities and they have responded to the episode. Our top priority is the safety of the 22 crew members aboard whose families have been contacted and briefed about the situation," the operator announced today.
This is the second product tanker to disappear from the same area, under similar circumstances, in less than a month. In mid-January, the British shipping company, Union Maritime, announced that they had lost contact with one of their product tankers off the coast of West Africa. The 11999-DWT Barrett, lay for anchor off Benin and later confirmed to have been hijacked by pirates.
The tanker and its 22 crew members were released a little over a week later. Union Maritime did not wish to inform whether ransom money was paid, but announced that rescue efforts included authorities in Benin, Togo, Nigeria and India.
Source:TradeWinds / Maritime Denmark