By Aurore Bonny
DOUALA, Cameroon (AA) - A Danish ship hijacked in the Gulf of Guinea has been found with some crew members on board, the French navy and the ship's owner reported Friday.
“After an active search in the northeastern Gulf of Guinea, in conjunction with its partners in the region,” the French Navy “relocated” the Monjasa Reformer “on its way to Nigeria” and assisted the crew, including three who were slightly injured, according to rescuers.
The crew said "six of its members were abducted by pirates.” The statement did not disclose the number of people found.
The Liberian-flagged oil and chemical tanker, with 16 crew members, was boarded Saturday by five armed persons 225 kilometers (140 miles) west of Port Pointe-Noire in the Republic of Congo, said its owner.
The ship was escorted early Friday to Lome, according to the French Navy.
The Monjasa Company said it will “continue working closely with the local authorities to support the seafarers' safe return to their families."
The Gulf of Guinea, a maritime route for hydrocarbon-rich countries, stretching more than 3.000 miles between Senegal and Angola has long been an epicenter of piracy. But, since April 2021, acts of maritime piracy have continued to decline, according to the UN.
Piracy is worth nearly $2 billion annually to criminal networks involved, according to the UN Under-Secretary General for Africa, Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee.
The attack on the Monjasa shows that "the problems of piracy off the west coast of Africa are far from being resolved,” said the Danish Shipowners Association.