Six crew members have reportedly been released by pirates following their kidnappings from a general cargo vessel on 30 June 2023 off West Africa.
This is per reports the security firm Ambrey received that had no additional information.
Ambrey said that since this case has been concluded, there is an enhanced threat of kidnaps for ransom against some merchant vessels from some West African criminal syndicates.
The six were abducted from the Republic of Congo-controlled 1,300-dwt Oya 1 (constructed in 1986) at an anchorage off Doula based in Cameroon.
The vessel had experienced a similar attack about six years back.
The vessel is known to be owned by Ocean Express (Pointe Noire), and it has not commented so far.
Ambrey said that the Oya 1 had a 1.84-metre freeboard at the time of the incident.
The firm observed two military vessels from Cameroon responding to the incident, arriving at the scene in some minutes. They departed slightly over after one hour.
Three days before the kidnapping, the shipowners were alarmed by an enhanced threat of pirate attacks off West Africa.
Ambrey mentioned that it had corroborated a message sent between the navies operating in the Gulf of Guinea waters.
The navies successfully assessed a credible risk and threat to merchant vessels, particularly those transiting the waters off Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, and Cameroon.
The vessel was also targeted by pirates in 2017 (August).
The Oya 1 was off Nigeria at that time.
Five crew members were abducted after the vessel departed for Bonny from Takoradi in Ghana.
Two officers — Abdelkader Benhala and Ahmed Janani — were among the ones taken.
The Panama-flagged vessel Oya 1 had reached from Luanda in Angola before the June 2023 attack.
The vessel was approximately one nautical mile off the port when it was boarded and was anchored there since the day before.
References: bnn, Trade Winds
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