The oil tanker KERALA, feared hijacked, which was reported missing on January 18 off the Angolan coast has been found. The Greek owners Dynacom Tankers Management have contacted crew after days of obscurity. The vessel M/T KERALA was reported attacked by suspected pirates. The crew (crew members (27) of the ship are from different nationality, Indian or Filipino) informed that most of the cargo was stolen and the pirates had left. Angolan navy in other hand denied that such attack took place.
Dynacom Tankers Management is a Greek-based company, owners of the Liberian-flagged 75,000 deadweight tonne oil tanker KERALA. The company informed in a statement:
"Pirates hijacked the vessel offshore Angola and stole a large quantity of cargo by ship-to-ship transfer. The pirates have now disembarked,"
Additional details were not announced about the pirate attack and the current position of the oil tanker was not revealed. Dynacom does not agree with the version of the Angolan navy that the crew had turned off the vessel's communication on purpose, to fake a pirate attack. An Angolan navy captain announced that signals for a hijacking were false and the oil tanker was in Nigeria. The captain has not said how the Angolan navy discovered that crew faked the attack. It is curious that the oil tanker KERALA had to finish a time-charter contract for the Angolan state oil company Sonangol, on February 12.
This suspected pirate attack raised concerns for returning the piracy off West Africa and spreading south from the Gulf of Guinea, near Africa's major oil producer Nigeria, a region known for its pirate attacks.