New Delhi: A Turkish tanker MT Cotton manned by an all-Indian crew of 24 people has been hijacked off the coast of Gabon in Central Africa. The owners of MT Cotton lost all contact with the ship two days ago. The ship is suspected to have been hijacked by Nigerian pirates for its cargo. A large number of ships, mainly cargo vessels have been the target of the pirates near African coasts.
MV Cotton, the Malta-flagged vessel, was taken over by suspected pirates 15 miles off the Gentil Port between 0100 hrs and 0200 hrs local time on Tuesday, a statement from V Ships, the crew manager for the vessel owned by a Turkish company, told reporters.
The 2007-built ship was awaiting berthing in the Gulf of Guinea at the time of the hijack, they said. The vessel has a gross tonnage of 23,248 tonne and is 184 meter long.
Officials at the Directorate General of Shipping confirmed the incident but said they are awaiting further details.
Information on the cargo which the ship was carrying and the voyage details were not immediately available. Company officials did not confirm if any demand for ransom has been made by the suspected sea brigands.
"Safety is the absolute priority of V-Ships and every effort is being made to secure the safe return of the crew," the statement said.