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Pirates Release Hijacked Manx-Registered Tanker

by Amanda Banks,, London

07 September 2012

The Isle of Man Shipping Registry has confirmed the release of an Isle of Man-registered vessel raided off the coast of Togo on August 28, 2012.

The Registry confirmed the Manx-registered tanker, 'Energy Centurion' was seized whilst its 24 crew were in the process of discharging gas oil at the patrolled anchorage at the port of Lome.

It was recently confirmed to the Registry that control of the tanker had been returned after the vessel had been taken to waters off Nigeria. The Registry welcomed the release of the crew, who were physically unharmed, but confirmed that the pirates had stolen approximately 3,100 tonnes of gas oil from the tanker's cargo, cash, valuables and items of equipment from the ship, as well as its crew.

The Isle of Man Registry said it had maintained close liaison with the operators, and stressed that the most important aspect for all organizations involved in the incident was the safe return of the crew.

David Morter, Deputy Director of the Ship Registry said: "We are relieved that the vessel has now been released and that the crew are physically unharmed, although they will have been through a great deal during their ordeal and our thoughts go out to them and their families."

Figures released by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Piracy Reporting Centre on August 30, 2012, show that there have been 210 attacks attributed to piracy this year on vessels worldwide, with a total of 23 hijackings. The number of piracy attacks has fallen since 2011, when a total of 439 attacks for the full year were reported, the majority of which took place off Somalia on the east coast of Africa, and in the Gulf of Guinea on the west coast of Africa. International efforts to tackle piracy have contributed to a significant year-on-year reduction in attacks from the 2010 peak of 1,181 attacks.

In its full-year report on piracy during 2011, the IMB warned that Nigeria is increasingly emerging as a piracy hotspot. While only 10 attacks were reported in Nigeria last year, including two hijackings, the IMB warned this number is not representative of the real threat of Nigerian piracy, disclosing that it was aware of a further 34 unreported incidents in Nigerian waters. The IMB said that although the average length of captivity for ships taken off the coasts of Nigeria and Benin tends to be roughly 10 days, compared with six months in Somali hijackings, these attacks are typically more violent.

TAGS: marine

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