Angola Hijackers Stab Kerala Engineer

A seafarer was injured when a gang of pirates boarded and hijacked the panamax tanker Keralaoff Angola last week, Dynacom Tankers has revealed.

The condition of the wounded man — the tanker’s Indian fourth engineer — is not known, but the company is arranging to get him to hospital.

Dynacom founder George Prokopiou told Lloyd’s List that after re-establishing contact with the missing tanker the company learned that the engineer officer had been stabbed in the back with a knife and hit with a gun butt.

The 2009-built tanker is believed to be heading to the port of Temain Ghana.

Dynacom estimates that about 13,000 tonnes of gas oil was removed from Kerala by ship-to-ship transfer and said the pirates also stole a quantity of lubricants, ropes and provisions before they fled.

The company could not say what vessels were used in the hijacking and cargo theft.

Mr Prokopiou said the pirates held the master on the floor at gunpoint, leaving him “very shocked”.

Dynacom also confirmed that the tanker was hijacked at Angola’s Luandaanchorage, where it is understood to have been operating for Sonangol in a storage role.

“It was in an area considered safe,” said Mr Prokopiou.

The vessel was held for more than a week after Dynacom lost contact with it on January 18. The company said it was “relieved” to have re-established contact on January 26 and to have spoken with its master.

“All crew members are alive and accounted for, but one is wounded and all have clearly been affected by their ordeal,” the shipping company said in a written statement issued today.

“It quickly became apparent that we were dealing with a piracy incident,” it said.

European, North American and other intelligence agencies worked with the company during the incident.

Dynacom also thanked “regional and international navies” that dispatched assets to monitor the pirates and provide assistance.

Law enforcement and intelligence officers involved in counterpiracy efforts will board Kerala to gather intelligence and forensic evidence from vessel and crew, the company said.

The Angolan Navy earlier told Reuters that the Liberia-flagged ship had not been hijacked.

The 27 crew on board comprised Indian officers and Filipino ratings.

The hijacking has raised fears that attacks are extending farther south than the Gulf of Guinea, where most previous incidents have occurred.

For more maritime news see Lloyd’s List

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