Kidnapped Happy Lady crew freed

Image of Limboh Terminal, Cameroon. Credit: Africa Logistics

Eight seafarers who were abducted by West African pirates from a Greek tanker have been released after three weeks in captivity.

The Hellenic Coast Guard has announced that the seafarers, who were captured from the Greek-flagged tanker Happy Lady in an attack off Cameroon on 30 December 2019, were released on 22 January 2020.

The coastguard said that the release came after “successful negotiations” and the seafarers will be repatriated after medical checks.

Shipping and Island Policy minister, Ioannis Plakiotakis, said, “The co-ordinated efforts bore fruit. I wish them a safe trip back to their families.”

Happy Lady, a 2013-built 51,390-dwt Greek-flagged products tanker managed by Eastern Mediterranean Maritime, was attacked while anchored 3.7 km from Limboh port in Cameroon.

Five of the seafarers taken from Happy Lady were Greek, including the 45-year-old captain. The others were two Filipinos and a Ukrainian.

Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea is a growing menace, with the International Maritime Bureau reporting that the area accounts for 82% of crew kidnappings in the world.