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French tanker Adour released amid contradictory reports and data

June 19, 2013 at 02:27 by Mikhail Voytenko in Maritime Security

French tanker Adour, hijacked by Nigerian pirates on June 13 13 off Lome, Togo, was released, but the details of the release are confused and contradictory. AIS signal reappeared on June 17 indicating that  the vessel crossed Gulf of Guinea from Togo to Nigeria coast. Vessel therefore, was released on June 17 or June 16. Nigerian military made a following statement:

General Bata Dembiro, a commander in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta region, said the Nigerian navy and French marines stormed the vessel after the hijackers seized it, but they took Benjamin Elan hostage to enable them to escape. They released the other 14 crew, he said.

"The rescued foreign ship worker was abducted in Togo aboard an oil tanker and brought to Bayelsa state (in Nigeria) by suspected kidnappers," Dembiro told Reuters by telephone.

The pirates took the Frenchman to a small village in Bayelsa state in the delta, but youths from the local community alerted the authorities, enabling them to mount a rescue operation. The gang had fled before they arrived in the house, he said.

Does it mean Nigerian and French military stormed tanker right after it was hijacked? Hardly so, judging from the vessel’s track. Most probably, pirates were able to get what they were after from the start – they stole the cargo, and fled the tanker shielding themselves by a French crew, who later was thankfully, released, under unclear circumstances.

Tanker hijack news:

French tanker Adour missing in Gulf of Guinea, presumably hijacked

French chemical tanker Adour is missing since June 13 13, last known position 04:00 UTC June 13 in 05 41N 001 18E (some 30 nautical miles south of Lome, Togo), shortly after leaving Lome anchorage (probably offloading STS). Presumably tanker Adour is hijacked by pirates. Operator of the vessel didn’t make any statements yet. Master and Chief officer (or Second) are French, the rest of the crew is of international mix.

  French tanker Adour released amid contradictory reports and data

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