A ship carrying 22 Indian crew and 13,500 tons of gasoline is missing in the Gulf of Guinea after contact was lost in Benin on Friday, the company and India’s minister of external affairs said on Sunday.
The Gulf of Guinea has become an increasing target for pirates who steal cargo and demand ransoms, even as piracy incidents fall worldwide, experts say.
The Marine Express tanker, managed by Hong Kong-based Anglo-Eastern, was last see in Benin’s waters at 3:30 a.m. GMT on Friday after which contact was lost, an Anglo Eastern spokesman told Reuters.
The cause of the loss of communication was unknown and a search was underway, conducted with help from Nigerian and Beninese authorities, Anglo-Eastern said.
“We regret that contact has been lost with the vessel, which was the Cotonou Anchorage in Benin, West Africa,” the spokesman said.
Merchant Ship Marine Express with 22 Indian nationals is missing off the Coast of Benin in the Gulf of Guinea. We are making all out efforts in coordination with Nigerian and Benin naval authorities to trace the missing ship. We have set up a Helpline no.(+234)9070343860.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) February 4, 2018
India’s minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj said on Twitter that 22 Indian nationals were onboard.