20 AUG 2019
German shipowner MC-Schiffahrt reports that the freigher MarMalaita was attacked by pirates off Cameroon on the night of August 14. Eight members of her 12-man crew have been kidnapped.
At about 2300-2400 hours Wednesday, the vessel was anchored at Douala when pirates boarded the ship and kidnapped the eight victims. MC-Schiffahrt says that it has assembled an emergency response team and is making every effort to resolve the case in cooperation with government authorities and the vessel’s crew managers.
“Our thoughts reach out to the concerned families, and we will take all efforts to support and assist them until their seafarers safely return back home,” the company said.
According to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, three of the abducted crewmembers are Russian nationals.
The MarMalaita is a multipurpose freighter deployed on the UAL liner service between Houston and West Africa. The service primarily provides transportation for the West African oil and gas industry, and it offers two or three direct sailings per month departing Texas.
As of Monday, the MarMalaita was moored alongside a pier in Douala.
The Gulf of Guinea consistently ranks as the world’s riskiest region for maritime piracy. The waters directly off the Niger River Delta are the most notorious area for attacks, but incidents further afield – as far away as Benin, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea – have been reported as well. The most serious incidents involve kidnapping for ransom rather than oil theft or property theft.