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Product tanker hijacked off Benin recovered

Anglo Eastern says ship is now under control of captain and crew, but releases few other details.

February 6th, 2018 05:06 GMT

by Dale Wainwright

Published in CASUALTIES

A Japanese-owned products tanker hijacked off Benin in West Africa late last week has been recovered, according to the ship’s manager.

Anglo Eastern said the 45,989-dwt Marine Express (built 2009) was now “back under the command of the captain and crew”.

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The ship manager also confirmed that the vessel had been hijacked, but gave few other details about what happened.

“Full control of the vessel was resumed at about 04:00 Singapore time today. All crew members are reported to be safe and well, and the cargo of 13,500 tons of gasoline remains on board,” it said.

“A complete investigation will be carried out into t he hijacking and we wish to express our gratitude to the captain and crew of the vessel and their families for their courage and fortitude in dealing with this difficult situation, as well as to all of the authorities and agencies involved.”

Anglo Eastern added that all families of the crew members on board the Marine Express have been advised of the situation, and that it “thanked everyone for their concern and well wishes over these past few days”.

Last week Anglo Eastern said it had lost contact with the Marine Express at 03:30 UTC on 1 February.

It was the second such vessel to disappear off the same port in less than a month in similar circumstances.

In mid-January UK-based shipowner Union Maritime said it lost contact with one of its product tankers off the coast of West Africa.

The 11,999-dwt Barrett (built 2005), which was at anchor off Benin, West Africa was later confirmed to have been taken by pirates.

However, the ship and its 22 crew were released just over a week later.

Union Maritime did not disclose if a ransom was paid, but said the rescue effort involved authorities in Benin, Togo, Nigeria and India.