Ship management firm Anglo-Eastern said that it has lost contact with one of its managed oil products tanker as of February 1.

The 45,989 dwt oil products tanker Marine Express was at the Cotonou Anchorage, Benin, when it was last contacted.

The region is notorious for piracy groups that target commercial ships and often kidnap seafarers for ransom.

The vessel, carrying 22 crew members on board, was in part laden condition with some 13,500 tons of gasoline.

“All the appropriate authorities have been alerted and are responding,” the company said.

“The manager’s first priority is the safety of the 22 crew members onboard, whose families have been contacted and informed of the situation. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.”

The report comes in less than a month since 22 crew members of another tanker were taken by pirates while their ship was at anchor off Benin, West Africa.

On January 18, the Marshall Islands-flagged tanker MT Barrett and its 22 crew members were released from captivity after a six-day ordeal.

The owner of the ship Union Maritime did not disclose the terms of the crew’s release, which might have included paying of ransom.

World Maritime News Staff

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