The Liberian-flagged oil tanker M/T KERALA is feared to be hijacked by pirates offshore Luanda, Angola. Dynacom Tankers Management officially announced that communication with the vessel has been lost since January 18, 2014. The company believes that the oil tanker had been attacked by pirates. If the ship is hijacked? It is not yet confirmed. Dynacom Tankers Management works in cooperation with authorities to find the oil tanker Kerala. The International Maritime Bureau also has been notified for the missing vessel.
The AIS signal of the M/T Kerala has also disappeared on January 18. Angola is not known for its serious pirate activity, but recent suspicious activities were observed and such incident is not a surprise. West Africa becomes a danger region?
There is an interesting fact, Dynacom Tankers is the manager of MT Smyrni, the last known vessel to be freed by Somali pirates last year. Piracy becomes once again a threat for the shipping in the region. Criminals from Nigeria are targeting cargo of the vessels and apparently are starting to attack at a large perimeter.
Before the loss of communication with M/T Kerala, the oil tanker was reported tracking a suspicious tug sailing off the coast of Angola. The mysterious tug was last seen in a restricted area offshore Angola on 17th January, very close to the M/T Kerala being at anchor, 7 NM NNW of Luanda. Statistics shows that pirate attacks over vessels are about the cargo (vessel carrying crude oil products are the main target of the pirates). The bandits are motivated by the well-developed fuel theft trade in the region. Attackers must not be underestimated, in the most of the cases they are well prepared, well armed and have specialist with maritime knowledge and expertise. Attacks are taking place over ships at anchor, in the darkness, in time of ship-to-ship cargo transfer (STS). The first thing after boarding the vessel is disabling the communications and switching off the AIS signal. It is a bad news if the communication with a vessel is lost.