16 may 2019
On Monday, the government of Togo announced that its forces had thwarted a maritime hijacking in progress in the Gulf of Guinea.
On Sunday night, eight armed pirates used a rented canoe to board the Togolese-flagged product tanker Djetona 1 at anchorage off the port of Lome, according to reports from the IMB ICC and the Togolese government. The attackers hijacked the vessel and took her crew hostage.
Shortly afterwards the Togo Navy received a call from the ship’s owners, who reported that their tanker had been attacked. The navy responded by dispatching its patrol boats to investigate. The tanker was intercepted 25 nm from the anchorage area and forced to return to Lome.
The crew were reported safe, and the suspects – two Togolese nationals and six Nigerians – were handed over to the authorities.
Fewer pirate attacks occur in Togo than in nearby Nigeria, but hijackings and kidnappings are a threat throughout the Gulf of Guinea region. In early March, a Romanian seafarers’ union reported that three Romanian nationals were kidnapped from the vessel Histria Ivory about 20 miles from Lome. The attackers fled with their victims and the Ivory’s remaining crew brought their vessel into port at Lome.