Massoel bulker attacked in Nigeria, 12 crew abducted

Crew members on Glarus held for ransom by pirates. Credit: Sea Pix Online com. (Trevor Coppock)
Crew members on Glarus held for ransom by pirates. Credit: Sea Pix Online com. (Trevor Coppock)

Massoel Shipping is working to free 12 of its crew members who were abducted by west African pirates in the Gulf of Guinea.The Swiss dry bulk shipping company said pirates attacked its vessel, Glarus, a 2001-built 46,209 dwt unit, at 05:00 UTC on 22 September as the ship sailed from Lagos to Harcourt, Nigeria.

There were 19 crew members on the ship and 12 were captured by the pirates, possibly for ransom, as the remaining crew were allowed to sail Glarus to Bonny, Nigeria, where the bulker remains anchored.The pirates are said to have used long ladders to board the vessel and razor wire on deck was cut.

AFP quoted Massoel as saying that the pirates damaged much of the communications equipment on Glarus, which was carrying grain cargoes.

The International Maritime Bureau has flagged the Gulf of Guinea as an area of concern, as pirates have hijacked vessels in that location for their cargoes or for ransom.

In the first six months of 2018, the number of reported pirate attacks and attempted attacks in west Africa more than doubled, to 46 incidents, from 20 cases in the first half of 2017.

Worldwide, the number of reported pirate attacks and attempted attacks rose from 87 in the first half of 2017 to 107 in the first half of this year.

On 14 August, Lotus Shipping chemical tanker Pantelena was hijacked and held by pirates for nine days while en route to Gabon. The vessel and its crew were freed without additional details being disclosed.