Five seafarers have been kidnapped by pirates from a Pacific International Lines (PIL) multipurpose vessel Kota Budi offshore Benin.
PIL confirmed that the Singapore-registered, 27,379 dwt Kota Budi had been attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea on 2 July at 23-35hrs (local time). The shipowner said that five Chinese crew members, including the Master, had been taken and presumed kidnapped.
According to reports the vessel was around 150nm from Cotonou, Benin at the time of the attack.
“The vessel and remaining 15 crew members on board are safe and healthy, and measures have been put in place to ensure their safety and the well-being of all on board,” PIL said.
“PIL is currently working with the flag state, local authorities and contacts to establish the whereabouts of the missing master and crew, and is taking strenuous and urgent steps to ensure their well-being and safe return.”
According to maritime security consultants the vessel had been in the area following a call in Warri, Nigeria on 24 June.
“The current incident occurred in an 80nm wide SW shipping lane to/from Delta State that had seen little to no piracy incidents in the past few years. The position and the general sea conditions that characterize the Gulf of Guinea waters during this time of the year can indicate the possible presence of a supporting craft in the area,” Praesidium International said in an alert.
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