Pirates off the Gulf of Guinea have kidnapped three crewmembers from a Malta-registered tanker.
Histria Ivory was sailing 20 nautical miles off the port of Lome, Togo, on 3 March when it was attacked by pirates. The majority of the crew, primarily Romanians, evaded capture but three were taken hostage before the pirates left.
The 40 500 ton vessel was then escorted to safe anchorage in Lome where it was due to have damaged sustained during the attack fixed. It had been on its way from Freetown, Liberia, to Monrovia.
In a statement, Romania’s Free Trade Union of Navigators urged seafarers to be alert in the area.
Histria Ivory belongs to Romanian shipping company Histria Shipmanangement.
The Gulf of Guinea remains increasingly dangerous for seafarers. Reports of attacks in waters between the Ivory Coast and the Democratic Republic of Congo more than doubled in 2018, accounting for all six hijackings worldwide, 13 of 18 ships fired on, 130 of 141 hostages taken globally and 78 of 83 seafarers kidnapped for ransom in 2018, according to the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
The region saw a significant spike in violence in the last quarter of 2018. Vessels were boarded by pirates well outside territorial waters with crew kidnapped and taken to Nigeria and held for ransom.