All 24 hijacked crew members from MV Cotton were Released

By Piracy

Pirates have eventually freed the hijacked tanker ship and its 24 Indian crew members after it was hijacked off the Gabon coast a week ago, stated the ship's operator on Monday, in the most southerly attack yet off the coast of West Africa.

A surge in piracy in the area of Gulf of Guinea including waters off Nigeria, Africa's No. 1 oil producer and a considerable source of cocoa and metals for world markets, is jacking up costs for shipping companies.

Pirates seized the MV Cotton tanker ship, sailing under the flag of Malta, on 15th of July, 2013 near Port Gentil in Gabon, in the 1st reported attack in that region in the past 5 years.

The Turkish operator of the tanker ship, Geden Lines, announced on Monday that the pirates had left the tanker ship in the early hours of the morning and its captain had resumed command.

"The vessel's captain has confirmed that all members of the 24 Indian crew are safe and in good condition," according to Geden Lines statement. "The tanker ship is now on her way to a secure port."

Unlike waters off the coast of East Africa, where vessels may move past at high speed with armed guards on board, a lot of ships have to anchor off West African coastal nations, with little protection, making them a soft target for criminals and pirates.