The fifteen seafarers kidnapped more than a month ago on a chemical tanker in the Gulf of Guinea have been released and are reported to be safe, the ship’s manager announced Thursday.
“De Poli Tankers is pleased to report that the fifteen officers and crew kidnapped on its vessel Davide B in the Gulf of Guinea on March 11 have been released and are safe,” De Poli Tankers said in its announcement of their safe release.
The crew members are “in relatively good condition given the difficult circumstances” and have undergone medical checks. Their families have been informed and are now in the process of being repatriated to their home countries.
The seafarers were seized from the chemical tanker on March 11 in the Gulf of Guinea, some 210 nautical miles south of Cotonou, Benin. Six others remained on board and were reported to be safe.
The MT Davide B was on a commercial voyage from Riga, Latvia to Lagos, Nigeria at the time of the attack. The vessel is Maltese flagged.
Chiara de Poli, CEO of De Poli Tankers, expressed relief and joy that the seafarers are safe and able to return to their families in Eastern Europe and the Philippines to begin their recovery.
“The last few weeks have been an extremely difficult period for everyone, particularly our 15 seafarers and their families,” said de Poli. “We admire our crew members for their courage during this period and would like to thank their families for their patience and endurance during a time of great uncertainty.”
The ICC International Maritime Bureau reported this week that the Gulf of Guinea remains particularly dangerous for seafarers, accounting for nearly half (43%) of all reported piracy incidents worldwide in the first three months of 2021.
“Pirates operating within the Gulf of Guinea are well equipped to strike further offshore and are not afraid to take violent action against innocent crews,” says IMB Director Michael Howlett. “It is critical that mariners remain cautious and vigilant when traveling in nearby waters and report all incidents to regional authorities and the IMB’s PRC.
Only improved knowledge sharing channels and increased collaboration between maritime response authorities will reduce the risk to seafarers in the region.”