Hijacked tanker MT Kerala arrives with minus $8m of diesel

By Vessels

Hijacked tanker MT Kerala which was missing for a week in the beginning of the year was released by suspected pirates with minus $8 million of diesel. The vessel has a time charter contract for Sonagol (the company manages the oil and gas reserves in Angola). The MT Kerala disappeared in January 2014 when the owners lost contact of the capital Luanda where the ship was last detected. The vessel was found a week later by the Nigerian navy. At first authorities was suspicious if this really was pirate attack, but later investigation revealed that MT Kerala was hijacked.

The attack over the Liberian-flagged vessel shows that piracy near the Gulf of Guinea is not eliminated. Nigeria is the Africa's biggest oil producer, there is why the pirate threat will be always active in the region. Angola is the second-biggest crude operator in Africa. The government of Angola insisted that the incident was not a pirate attack, but a trick to hide the theft of diesel. The Greek owner of the MT Kerala announced that a large quantity of the cargo of the vessel was missing. Crew members of the ship were accused by Angola authorities of intentionally breaking all communications in order to fake pirate attack.

Anabela Fonseca, representative of the company Sonagol informed:

"The MT Kerala was found in Nigerian waters, but as the coast there did not offer security it was taken to Ghanaian waters and then recovered with help from both countries' authorities and brought to Luanda."

The Sonagol representative did not commented who was responsible for this incident. 78% of the cargo was successfully recovered.