Pirates Release Crew Members Kidnapped in Gulf of Guinea

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All fifteen seafarers kidnapped more than a month ago from a chemical tanker in the Gulf of Guinea have been released and are reported safe, the ship manager announced Thursday.

“De Poli Tankers are delighted to report that all fifteen of its officers and crew abducted from its vessel Davide B in the Gulf of Guinea on March 11 have been released and are now safe,” De Poli Tankers said in its announcement of their safe release.

The crew members are reported to be “in a relatively good condition given the difficult circumstances” and have been receiving medical checks. Their families have been informed and they are now in the process of being repatriated to their home countries.

The seafarers were kidnapped from the chemical tanker on March 11 in the Gulf of Guinea approximately 210 nautical miles south of Cotonou, Benin. Six others remained on board and were reported safe.

The MT Davide B was on a commercial voyage from Riga, Latvia to Lagos, Nigeria at the time of the attack. The vessel is flying the Maltese flag.

Chiara de Poli, CEO of De Poli Tankers, expressed relief and delight that the seafarers are safe and can return to their families in Eastern Europe and The Philippines so they can start their recovery.

“The past weeks have been an extremely difficult period for everyone, in particular for our 15 seafarers and their families,” de Poli said. “We admire our crew members for their courage during this period and like to thank their families for their patience and resilience during a time of great uncertainty.”

The ICC International Maritime Bureau reported this week that the Gulf of Guinea continues to be particularly dangerous for seafarers, accounting for nearly half (43%) of all reported piracy incidents worldwide in the first three months of 2021.

“Pirates operating within the Gulf of Guinea are well-equipped to attack further away from shorelines and are unafraid to take violent action against innocent crews,” says IMB Director Michael Howlett. “It’s critical that seafarers remain cautious and vigilant when travelling in nearby waters and report all incidents to the Regional Authorities and the IMB PRC. Only improved knowledge sharing channels and increased collaboration between maritime response authorities will reduce the risk to seafarers in the region.”

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