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JJ Ugland bulker crew abducted by pirates off Benin

The 2014-built supramax bulker Bonita, owned by Norwegian owner JJ Ugland, was boarded by pirates on Saturday off Cotonou, Benin.

The incident happened when the vessel was at anchor waiting for a berth to discharge a cargo of gypsum, the company said. Nine crewmembers, including the captain, were kidnapped and taken off the vessel by pirates. The remaining crew onboard notified local authorities.

The vessel docked at Cotonou later the same day. According to JJ Ugland, the company’s emergency response team is handling the situation as per contingency plans and they are in contact with relevant authorities.

Reports on Monday indicate that there has been a second kidnapping within 48 hours in the Gulf of Guinea. Security consultants Ambrey understands from nearby sources in the Lome anchorage that four crewmembers (a Greek national, a Georgian national and two Filipino nationals) were kidnapped from a Greece-flagged aframax tanker while she was at anchor. 

The Gulf of Guinea has has become one of the most dangerous regions for shipping. A report released in July by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) showed that 73% of all kidnappings at sea took place in the Gulf of Guinea from January to June this year.

In January, six crew from MSC boxship, MSC Mandy, were kidnapped by pirates off Benin and in February, the Anglo-Eastern managed product tanker Marine Express was also attacked by pirates in the region.

Jason Jiang

Jason is one of the most prolific writers on the diverse China shipping & logistics industry and his access to the major maritime players with business in China has proved an invaluable source of exclusives. Having been working at Asia Shipping Media since inception, Jason is the chief correspondent of Splash and associate editor of Maritime CEO magazine. Previously he had written for a host of titles including Supply Chain Asia, Cargo Facts and Air Cargo Week.
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