Hijack of the Greek tanker Energy Centurion, Master’s report
At 02:00 LT August 28 four armed pirates managed to board the vessel in bow area, taking 1 crew as a hostage and then moving to bridge, where they took over the control of the vessel. They ordered bosun to lower an accommodation ladder, and the rest of the gang boarded the vessel, totaling 10 armed criminals. 2 officer managed to send alarm signal before pirates captured the vessel. All the crew was summoned on the bridge and ordered to lay on a floor, faces down. Pirates hold the crew in such a position for 5 straight hours. Pirates disabled all the communication equipment and then ordered the crew to take the tanker to Nigerian waters.
At around 02:40 Aug 29 a patrol boat of Togo Navy approached the tanker and ordered immediate stop, master refused and said he can’t stop the vessel. Boat fired at tanker during several minutes, then ceased fire and moved away.
At 07:30 crew was summoned in crew’s mess room and kept there during all the time of captivity. During that time pirates once attacked one of the crew, fired a weapon and wounded in a leg another crew, a cadet.
At 12:00 pirates ordered crew to repaint the name of the vessel with the new one Emty G.G.V, on both sides of the bow and on stern.
At 21:00 a small oil vessel moored alongside Energy Centurion, at 01:06 Aug 29 pirates commenced the offloading, they managed to offload (steal) 3091 tons of fuel oil from tank No 2 starboard. The lightering vessel didn’t have name or number, or other IDs, all the staff on board of the vessel was of African origin, obviously professional and experienced in handling tanker’s cargo system, pumps and hoses, and in STS operations. After completing the operation, vessel unmoored and sailed in Nigerian waters direction.
During next 36 hours pirates were busy communicating with somebody on the radio, discussing the place of rendezvous to be picked up.
At 12:00 Aug 30 pirates forced the crew to lower into water life boat and put in a boat 16 canisters of diesel oil taken from engine room. Boat’s engine failed, crew had to lower another boat, and at 13:15 pirates left the vessel on the life boat. They were met by three boats, went into those boats and sailed in Nigeria waters towards shore. They looted the vessel and took with them all cash and valuables of the crew, from laptops to cloth and mobile phones.
During all the time of captivity tanker was shadowed by a French Navy frigate, soon after pirates left French sailors boarded the tanker and rendered all assistance they including medical assistances to injured crewmen. Then another Navy ship approached the tanker, it was a Nigerian Navy ship demanding Energy Centurion to proceed to Lagos, Nigeria, for investigation, vessels’ survey and medical assistance. During the captivity there wasn’t any sign of Nigerian Navy presence. French frigate advised not to enter Nigerian waters and proceed to Lome, Togo.
Tanker started moving towards Togo waters, the behaviour of Nigerian Navy ship turned so hostile that French frigate had to actually, place herself between tanker and Nigerian ship and escort tanker to safe waters.
Master of m/t Energy Centurion Tasios Antonios
Greek tanker Energy Centurion with Russian crew hijacked by pirates in Gulf of Guinea
Pirates left Greek tanker Energy Centurion
Greek Captain saved us at least twice, said the Russian crew of the tanker Energy Centurion
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