Pirates still holding kidnapped crew of MarMalaita

Location and tracking of MarMalaita in Gulf of Guinea. Credit: IHS Markit AISLive

Eight crew members remain detained by pirates after their vessel, general cargo ship MarMalaita, was attacked on 15 August off the coast of Cameroon.

According to IHS Markit’s AISLive data, the ship is still moored at the port of Doula anchorage.

A port chaplain, who had met with the recently kidnapped crew from a port in West Africa, expressed his dismay over the situation.“It’s shocking to hear that the crew of MarMalaita are still being held captive after the ship had been attacked,” said deacon John Archer, Stella Maris port chaplain in the port of Mobile, USA. “The vessel was in Mobile for a few months running between Mexico and Mobile and I got to know the chief cook during their short visits to Mobile and I knew they were heading to the coast of Africa.”

This latest incident highlights the growing trend of violence and kidnappings that are being carried out against vessels and their crews in the Gulf of Guinea (GoG).

Safety at Sea reported in July that seafarers were kidnapped off the Turkish cargo ship Paksoy-1, and a four other crew members were kidnapped by pirates near Cameroon in April.

The International Maritime Bureau noted that of the 75 seafarers around the world who were kidnapped and taken hostage for ransom in the first six months of 2019, 62 were kidnapped in the GoG.

Paul Rosenblum, Stella Maris North America regional co-ordinator, said, “This kidnapping highlights the high price that can be paid by seafarers when things go wrong. This tragedy is a reminder of the dangers seafarers face each day to bring us the various goods and food we rely on.”

The abducted crew members from the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged vessel are from the Philippines, Russia, and Ukraine.

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