20 Indians kidnapped as pirates attack tanker in West Africa

New Delhi (IANS) A crew of 20 Indians aboard the oil tanker MV Duke has been kidnapped by pirates in Gulf of Guinea in West Africa.

V Ships Ship Management (India) Pvt Ltd., managers of the oil/chemical product tanker Duke, reported that contact was lost with the vessel in the early hours of Monday morning.

The Marshal Island's flag vessel was some 110 miles south-east of Lome, Togo, where it was heading to discharge a cargo of fuel oil loaded at Luanda.

It is understood from the IMB piracy reporting centre and MDAT-GOG that there was a pirate attack between 0700 hrs and 0800 hrs local time involving kidnapping of the crew, leaving one Nigerian cadet on-board.

It is yet to be confirmed that this attack involved the MV Duke which has a crew of 20 Indian nationals on-board and one Nigerian national.

According to a statement, the owners and managers of MV Duke are working closely with the relevant local authorities to try to establish contact with the vessel and crew, their well-being and safety being the prime focus and concern at this time.

The managers are contacting the families of crew members to keep them fully informed on the situation. Further information will be provided as they become available.

The vessel was attacked by pirates in Gulf of Guinea. The ship wasn't identified, but according to available information, it's tanker Duke enroute to Lome from Luanda. Reportedly, only one crew avoided the pirates, while the rest were kidnapped.

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