Crew members of Liberian oil tanker held hostage by pirates

Image for ilustrative purpose only. Courtesy of MGN.

03/31/2023 By Meghan O’Brien

Pirates boarded a ship in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea last week, taking six out of the 16-man crew as hostages. The pirates quickly abandoned the French Navy vessel, Monjasa Reformer, near Port Pointe-Noire, Congo. According to company spokesman Thorstein Andreason, their reasoning for taking hostages is unknown.

Image for ilustrative purpose only. Courtesy of MGN.

Every year, the threat of piracy has cost this region nearly $1.9 billion. The Gulf of Guinea is known to be one of the most dangerous locations for sea travel and a common spot for hijacking. Since November of 2022, The United Nations has been making strides towards enhancing maritime security by urging a more strict legal framework to hold maritime offenders accountable.

Three other crew members were injured in the attack. The remainder of the crew successfully contacted a nearby French Navy vessel, which arrived shortly to treat minor injuries. According to Andreason, the remaining crew members are “all in good health and safely located in a secure environment and receiving proper attention following these dreadful events.”

The Monjasa Reformer, known to carry marine gas and sulfur fuel oil, was transported to Togo with the help of a Nigerian ship. No damage to the ship has been reported as of now.