Oil tanker miss­ing for a week amid piracy fears

Irish Independent - Business Week - - Front Page - Ed McAl­lis­ter

A TANKER ves­sel has gone miss­ing off the coast of Gabon in West Africa – an area no­to­ri­ous for piracy – and no word has been heard from its crew for a week, the ship’s man­agers said.

Ge­or­gia’s gov­ern­ment said that 17 of its cit­i­zens were on board the Pan­te­lena serv­ing as crew.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion was lost with the Panama-reg­is­tered tanker at about 2am lo­cal time on Au­gust 14, at which time it was about 28km from the port of Libreville, in Gabon, Athens-based Lo­tus Ship­ping said in a state­ment.

It gave no fur­ther de­tails on the cargo and crew, and did not say if it be­lieved the Pan­te­lena had been hi­jacked by pi­rates.

The ves­sel is a dual-pur­pose oil or chem­i­cals tanker.

“We at Lo­tus Ship­ping, act­ing on be­half of the ves­sel’s own­ers... have set as our first and fore­most pri­or­ity to safe­guard the safety of the crew and with their in­ter­est in mind we can­not pro­vide any ad­di­tional me­dia com­ments at this point in time,” it­said.

The Pan­te­lena was on route from Lome to Libreville and was last seen near­ing the Gabon coast at 9pm on Au­gust 13, ac­cord­ing to ship-track­ing data on Reuters, which lists the ship as a dou­ble-hulled oil tanker man­aged by Lo­tus.

Piracy has de­creased world­wide, but West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea is an in­creas­ing tar­get for pi­rates who steal cargo and de­mand ran­soms. (Reuters)

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