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
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.