Dynacom tanker missing

A Dynacom tanker is feared hijacked off Angola in an incident which has created fears surrounding the spread of piracy off West Africa.
George Procopiou: Owner of Dynacom.

George Procopiou: Owner of Dynacom.

The 74,998-dwt Kerala (built 2009) vanished while fully laden with gas oil and was last sighted 150 nautical miles from the Angola coast.

Experts are drawing parallels with the hijack of Geden’s 37,800-dwt Cotton (built 2007) in an unprecedented attack less than 20 nautical miles north of Port Gentil last year.

“This is a big game changer,” said Arild Nodland, Chief Executive of Bergen Risk Solutions. “It means nowhere is safe off West Africa.

“Angola was a quiet and peaceful place in terms of maritime piracy.”

He added: “What started in Nigeria and spread to Benin in 2011, Togo in 2012 and further in 2013, is now spreading east and south.”

A source at Dynacom confirms the ship is missing.

While he will not say how many crew are on board the ship, he did explain there was no security on board as the area was considered safe.

The vessel has been working in the region for more than four years.

Suspicion surrounds the presence of the Nigerian tug in the area when the incident occurred, but sources are divided on what role it may have played.

Dynacom is no stranger to piracy. Its 157,000-dwt suezmax tanker Smyrni was hijacked in May 2012 and remains the last ship successfully taken by Somali pirates. It was released after a ransom payment.

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