Nine Filipino seafarers from a Norwegian freighter were kidnapped on Saturday in the port of Cotonou, Benin’s economic capital, by suspected pirates, the port authorities and the shipowner announced Sunday evening.
« Saturday morning, November 2, 2019, an act of piracy took place in the area of the harbor of the Port of Cotonou, » according to a statement from the port.
« The Bonita vessel (…) was attacked about 9 miles from the port entrance pass and 8 crew members plus the captain of the ship were removed, » it was said. An investigation is underway and other crew members, safe and sound, were auditioned Sunday.
In a statement, the Norwegian shipowner, the company Ugland, confirmed the attack and kidnapping of nine crew members while the Bonita was waiting to unload its cargo of gypsum.
A spokesman for the company told Dagens Naeringsliv newspaper that the abducted sailors were all Filipino nationals.
The Gulf of Guinea, which extends from Cameroon to Liberia, has become the most dangerous maritime region in the world.
Boat raids and kidnappings for ransom are relatively common, although most often concentrated along the Nigerian coast, from which pirates originated.
They sometimes hijack the ships for several days, time to loot the bunkers, and ask for large ransoms before releasing the crew.
Piracy in the Gulf, home to the two main sub-Saharan African oil-producing countries, Nigeria and Angola, has seriously disrupted this vital international shipping route to the continent, costing billions of dollars in shipping. ‘Mondial economy.