The container vessel Tommi Ritscher has been attacked by suspected pirates off the coast of Benin, and eight crewmembers are believed to have been taken hostage.
According to Praesidium International, the Portuguese-flagged vessel reported being under attack by armed men who had approached the vessel with a speedboat on 19 April. A military boat approached the Tommi Ritscher, causing the speedboat to fleet, leaving some of the pirates on board. It appears 11 crewmembers locked themselves in the citadel while eight are being held by the pirates.
“A Naval Patrol vessel (ZOU) is understood to have spotted the speedboat alongside the vessel and approached. On approaching the speedboat is understood to have fled leaving the perpetrators on board the Tommi Ritscher,” Dryad Global said.
Crew members are understood to be Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Filipino.
The incident is reportedly still ongoing with two naval vessels currently at the scene.
This the second incident within the Cotonou anchorage within 2020 and the fifth incident in this location across a 12-month time frame, according to Dryad.