Tanker hijacked in Gulf of Guinea Spanish owned


A Cyprus-flagged tanker hijacked off the coast of Benin in West Africa is Spanish-owned and has Spaniards and Peruvians among its 23 crew members, government and company officials said.

The Mattheos 1 tanker was taken by pirates during a ship-to-ship transfer of petroleum products about 62 nautical miles southwest of the port of Cotonou and taken to an unknown location.

Spain was trying to locate the vessel, owned and operated by Madrid-based Consultores de Navegacion, and secure the release of the crew, which includes five Spaniards, Reuters reports.
“Our embassies are doing everything they can to reach a solution to this issue as soon as possible,” a Spanish foreign ministry spokesman told Reuters.

The incident was the latest in a string of attacks on ships in the Gulf of Guinea that experts say is threatening an emerging trade hub and growing source of oil, metals and agricultural products to world markets.

Pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, which stretches from the Guinea to Angola, tend to raid ships for cash and cargo instead of hijacking the crews for huge ransoms like their counterparts off of Somalia.