Crew kidnapped off Benin freed after 35 days in captivity


Pirates who kidnapped nine crew members from the cargo vessel MV Bonita in the Gulf of Guinea last month have released those held after 35 days of captivity.

The MV Bonita, owned by Norwegian shipping firm JJ Ugland, was boarded by pirates while at anchor off the coast of Benin and nine crew members were kidnapped on 2 November. The remaining crew notified local authorities and the vessel later docked at the port city Cotonou. The dry bulker carried a cargo of gypsum, a mineral used in fertiliser, destined for Benin, Ugland said.

JJ Ugland said the nine Filipino crew, including the captain, were released on 6 December and brought ashore to southern Nigeria. They were subsequently returned to Manila.

While piracy decreased worldwide in 2019, West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea is a high-risk area for abductions and armed robbery, the International Maritime Bureau, a unit of the International Chamber of Commerce, said.