Kerala Re-located

Dynacom says it has re-established contact with one of its tankers that was hijacked off Angola last week.

In a statement released Sunday the Greek shipowner said the crew of the 75,000-dwt Kerala (built 2009) was all safe.

However, it also disclosed that pirates had “stolen a large quantity of cargo by ship-to-ship (STS) transfer”.

Dynacom confirmed that the pirates had disembarked from the vessel and that it was “dealing with the incident in conjunction with the relevant authorities.”

Contact with the Liberian-flagged ship, which is on charter to Angolan state oil firm Sonangol, was confirmed lost on 18 January.

A source at Dynacom confirmed to TradeWinds last week that there was no security on board as the area was considered safe.

Suspicion surrounds the presence of a Nigerian tug in the area when the incident occurred, but sources are divided on what role it may have played.

Piracy exports warned that the tanker’s disappearance may represent a significant extension of maritime crime emanating from the Gulf of Guinea region, most probably from Nigerian criminal gangs.

“If confirmed as a hijack, this would be the furthest south that Nigerian-based criminals had struck,” said Dryad Maritime at the time of the ship’s disappearance.

Dynacom is no stranger to piracy. Its 157,000-dwt suezmax Smyrni remains the last ship hijacked by Somali pirates. It was released after a ransom payment.

For more maritime news see Tradewinds

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