24 DEC 2019
Pirates have released the 19 crewmembers taken from the tanker Nave Constellation on December 3.
All 18 Indian and one Turkish nationals were freed on Saturday after being kidnapped from the vessel in the Gulf of Guinea while en route from Bonny Offshore Terminal to India. The seven seafarers left on board navigated the vessel to safety.
A statement released on Saturday by the vessel owner, Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation, and manager, Anglo-Eastern Tanker Management (Hong Kong), said:
“Since the attack, the prime concern has been the safety, well-being and early return of the seafarers taken by the pirate gang. Owners and managers are now delighted to report that on December 21 all of those taken were released and are now safe and undergoing medical tests and debriefing, following which they will return to their loved ones at home. All those taken and now released are in good spirits and well, given the circumstances of their time in captivity.”
The statement also says that no operational details of the kidnap or release will be provided as this could jeopardize the safety of seafarers still being held elsewhere or encourage future seizures.
According to information released by maritime security consultancy Dryad Global after the seizure, the attack occurred in a particularly dangerous hotspot for maritime piracy – the waters south of the Niger River Delta near the southeastern boundary of the Nigerian exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The position of the hijacking is about 25 nm away from the FPSO for Total’s Egina offshore oil field. “This is further confirmation of a developing trend of incidents that are assessed to be perpetuated by a well resourced pirate action group, most likely operating from one or more mother-ship vessels.”