Monday, January 21, 2013

Muslim pirates seize Panama-flagged tanker in Ivory Coast

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Gunmen seized a Nigerian-owned Panama-flagged tanker off Ivory Coast's port of Abidjan as it prepared to unload 5,000 tonnes of fuel, port officials said in a statement on Monday.

Port agents said they lost contact with the ship, named the ITRI and owned by Lagos-based Brila Energy, shortly after midnight on Thursday.

"Several minutes later, (the ship's local manager) informed the harbor pilot that its ship was under the control of armed individuals who had boarded," read the statement.

It is only the second such attack in Ivorian waters. In October, pirates seized a Bahamas-flagged tanker carrying more than 32,000 metric tonnes of gasoline near Abidjan's port.

The ship's whereabouts are currently unknown. The port said its last known position was off the coast of neighboring Ghana. But Ghanaian authorities said they were unable to locate it when informed of the hijacking by Ivorian maritime officials.