No fewer than 19 seafarers working as crew members of a tanker vessel have been kidnapped by suspected sea pirates off Bonny Island.
The seafarers were abducted in a tanker identified as Nave Constellation, about 100 nautical miles off Bonny Island.
A statement made available to The Tide by Dryad Global said the attack occurred 26nm South East of the Egina terminal while the ship was underway on Tuesday.
Eighteen of the crew members abducted were Indian nationals, one is a Turkish, while seven other crew members are still on board the tanker, the statement said.
Navios, which is the owner of the ship and Anglo-Eastern Tanker Management (Hong Kong), which is the vessel’s technical manager, have both confirmed the incident.
The Hong Kong-flagged crude oil tanker had departed Bonny Offshore Terminal in fully laden condition when it was boarded by armed men late on the night of December 3rd.
“The criminal gang departed the vessel taking 19 of those onboard with them as hostage; 18 Indian nationals and one Turkish national. Seven seafarers remained on board and were instructed to take the tanker to a safe position to await the arrival of a security vessel and other support craft. There was no pollution or damage to the vessel.
“Navios as owners and Anglo Eastern as technical and crew managers’s prime concern is the safety and early return of the 19 persons taken by the pirate gang. All the appropriate authorities, including the Flag State, have been alerted and are responding and all the necessary action is being taken to secure their wellbeing and early release,” the two companies said in a statement.
The companies said the families of those taken by the pirates are being kept fully informed of the developing situation.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), Piracy Reporting Centre, has also confirmed the attack on the tanker.
“Nineteen crew were identified as missing. The vessel owners notified the Nigerian Navy and MRCC for assistance.
Remaining crew sailed a tanker to a safe area,” the IMB said.
This is the 6th maritime security incident and the fourth kidnapping incident to occur within 30nm of the South Eastern boundary of the Nigerian EEZ within 2019.
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Fuel Price Hike: PH, Bonny Passengers May Pay N4,000 Before Christmas
Following the increase in petrol pump price in Rivers State to N230 per liter, Bonny Maritime Transport Association (BMTA) says passengers travelling to Bonny Island from Port Harcourt may have to pay N4,000 each before Christmas.
The Association said boat operators along Bonny routes are facing difficulties in getting petrol to power their boats to the Island.
BMTA said the petroleum pump price has also forced the prices of spare parts beyond the reach of the poor.
Disclosing this to The In Port Harcourt in a telephone interview, Marine Safety Officer, BMTA, Comrade Kim Dimkpa, expressed regret that passengers to the Island are passing through difficulties, saying since the petroleum pump price hike, passengers now pay N3,000 to Bonny
He insisted that if the pump price is not checked, the Association would be forced to increase the fair to N4,000 before Christmas.
Dimkpa said in the past when the pump price were N150 per liter, fair to Bonny was N2,000 to ,N2,500 per passenger.
The Safety Officer appealed to relevant government agencies responsible for control of the pump price to come to the aid of the masses in Nigerian by ensuring that the price remains affordable.
“I call on the NNPC, and other relevant agencies for the control of petroleum pump price to assist the masses and reduce the price to N150 per litre to save lives.
“Boat operators, bus drivers and other end users depend daily on the product to survive.
“Our leaders are not helping matters, the masses are dying everyday of economic hardships, the rich are getting richer every day, while the poor masses are dying of hunger and starvation in the midst of plenty”, Dimkpa said.
He appealed to State Governors and other stakeholders in the industry to intervene in reverting to the old pump price of N150 per liter for consumers.
By: Chinedu Wosu
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