Crew of Hijacked Eagle Bulk Ship Safely Released After 3 Weeks In Captivity

Three crew members who had been abducted from a bulk carrier off the Gabon coast in West Africa have been released after almost three weeks. The government of the Republic of Georgia and the Eagle Bulk shipping firm confirmed the release of the kidnapped seafarers.

On board were three people believed to be two Georgians, the first and second officers and the Russian captain of Grebe Bulker operated by Eagle Bulk Shipping when they were kidnapped on 2 May. The 57,800-ton bulk carrier awaited its next call off Gabon at Owendo Anchorage. The other crew members searched the vessel, discovered the three missing individuals, and reported the matter to relevant local authorities.

Eagle Bulk Ship
Representation Image

The Georgian Foreign Ministry informed that the Maritime Transport Agency, with the Embassy of Georgia based in South Africa, coordinated to release the kidnapped members. They also added that they were working closely with the crew company and ship’s owners without sharing further details on the release.

Eagle Bulk thanked all those involved and the crew members for their fortitude and strength during their 18 days in captivity. Relevant authorities in Georgia reported that the crew members had been medically examined in Nigeria. Eagle Bulk would be paying for their redress. The crew members will likely return home in the next few days.

The ship was based in Lagos and Port Harcourt, Nigeria, before setting sail for anchorage off Gabon. Her AIS signal reflected that she set sail two weeks after the kidnappings and is currently on her way toward Singapore.

The news of the kidnapping of Grebe Bulker comes two weeks after the Danish fuel supplier Monjasa reported that it had successfully ensured the release of six crew members kidnapped from Monjasa Reforms. The ship was boarded on 25 March while idling about 140 nm off Port Pointe-Noire in the Congo. They were believed to be kidnapped in Nigeria, per the French Navy, which located the missing vessel after searching in the Gulf of Guinea for several days.

The two incidents were reported as the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Center said that the overall incidents were recorded at the lowest levels of global piracy and armed robbery since 1993. This year’s first quarter had 27 reported incidents, compared to 37 observed in the previous. However, they said the vessels were boarded successfully in 24 cases, calling for improved vigilance and enhanced efforts to keep piracy under check.

References: lemarin, News Beezer, Shipping Watch

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