Oil tanker attacked by pirates off west Africa: Benin navy
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Last Updated: Tuesday, November 24, 2009, 18:09
  
Cotonou: An oil tanker was attacked by an armed gang off the coast of west Africa overnight, the commander of Benin's naval forces said to a news agency on Tuesday, adding that a navy ship had been sent to investigate.

Commander Maxime Ahoyo said there were reports that the captain of the Monrovia-flagged Cancale Star had been killed and his first officer seriously wounded in the assault, but that the situation on board the vessel was unclear.

"First reports indicate that the commander on board may have been killed during the attack. His deputy has been seriously wounded and one of the pirates on board was overpowered," Ahoyo said.

He said the 230-metre long tanker was attacked 18 nautical miles off the coast of Benin.

The nationality of the captain and crew was not immediately known. Neither was it known how many people were on board the ship.

Ahoyo said a naval patrol "is currently at sea to investigate the situation."

Piracy in west Africa is on the rise, according to the International Maritime Bureau, with more than 100 cases last year.

Most attacks occur while ships are at anchor or close to the shore, unlike in east Africa, where Somali pirates have netted millions of dollars in ransoms in exchange for the release of ships captured hundreds of miles from the coast.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, November 24, 2009, 18:09


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