Oil tanker hijacked off West African coast freed, 22 Indians onboard safe

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Oil tanker hijacked off West African coast freed, 22 Indians onboard safe

"I have just spoken to Foreign Minister of Nigeria regarding missing merchant ship with 22 Indian nationals on board". He also tweeted that our mission in Nigeria, Abuja is to get in touch with the authorities in Benin and Nigeria for expanding the help in locating the ship.

In January, another oil tanker, the MT Barrett, went missing off the Benin coast, but the mostly Indian crew of 22 was released after a ransom was paid.

There have been a few incidents where pirates let off hijacked vessels and crew after siphoning the cargo on-board cargo without demanding a ransom.

Director General of Shipping Malini Shankar told PTI that all 22 crew members were safe and that the ship has resumed further sailing. "We thanks Governments of Nigeria and Benin for their help and support (sic)", she tweeted.

The Nigerian Navy and Coast Guard are carrying out aerial searches. "A 24-hour helpline number set up by the Embassy for information on those missing is +234-9070343860".

"We regret that contact has been lost with the vessel, which was the Cotonou Anchorage in Benin, West Africa", the spokesman said. They are monitoring the situation closely, he said, the Hindu reported.

The Anglo-Eastern Ship Management also took to the social media to confirm that the ship is missing.

"All the appropriate authorities have been alerted and are responding", the company said. Updates TBA." A spokesperson of the company said, "At this point, we cannot share details as that could put the crew at risk.

It said a complete investigation would be carried out into the hijacking. No ransom call had been received, the official said. But the Gulf of Guinea threat had increased.

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