Shipping crews traveling along Africa’s West coast are being targeted with increasing frequency by pirates looking to abduct sailors and hold them for ransom. Costas Paris reports for The Wall Street Journal:
Armed attackers kidnapped 17 crew members from German and Greek vessels in piracy-troubled waters off the coast of Cameroon in two incidents last week and are seeking “huge sums” for their release, people involved in the matter said.
The first attack, on Aug. 14, involved the German-owned MV MarMalaita, a multipurpose cargo vessel owned by Hamburg-based MC-Schiffahrt, which was anchored near the port of Douala in Cameroon.
“A group of pirates boarded the vessel and abducted eight of our 12 crew members from the vessel,” the company said in a statement. “All respective authorities have been informed accordingly and we will fully cooperate with them until the case is resolved.”
A day later pirates kidnapped nine seafarers from the Greek-operated Victory C bulk carrier, which was anchored in roughly the same area. Local authorities said the same group of pirates was likely behind both attacks.
“They boarded the ships, forced the crew members on speed boats and fled,” a Douala port official said. “It was carbon-copy attacks over two days so the villains are probably the same.”
Such attacks will likely raise the cost of shipping insurance, and hurt the global economy in turn.
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