A missing Monjasa bunker tanker has been spotted 470 nautical miles (870 km) from the spot where it was boarded by pirates on Saturday night.

The 13,700-dwt product carrier Monjasa Reformer (built 2003) was attacked 260 km off Pointe Noir, Republic of the Congo.

Reporting body MDAT-GoG has now said the ship was sighted on 28 March in international waters about 282 nautical miles south-west of Annobon Island, Equatorial Guinea.

MDAT-GoG asked that masters of other ships report further signtings.

The tanker has made 7 knots in the more than 70 hours since the last AIS transmission.

Security company Ambrey has upgraded the incident to an extended duration robbery.

The Liberia-flag vessel is owned by Denmark's Monjasa and managed by Montec Ship Management.

“At the time of the incident, the vessel was sitting idle with 16 crew members on board,” Monjasa said in a statement on Tuesday.

Montec was notified by the crew that pirates had boarded the tanker.

All the seafarers were secure inside the ship's citadel.

Montec was working with all relevant maritime authorities in the region, including several local and international navies.

"On board communications channels are currently down and we are working with the local authorities to establish communication to understand the situation on board and provide all the support needed by the crew to overcome these dreadful events," Monjasa said.

"Monjasa will keep working closely with Montec Ship Management and the authorities during this difficult situation and in the aftermath. All our thoughts are with the crew and relatives in these hours."

The Monjasa Reformer is employed in West Africa as part of Monjasa’s global marine fuels operations and is currently carrying marine gas oil, very low sulphur fuel oil, high sulphur fuel oil products on board.

There have been no reports of damage to the ship or cargo.

The Danish group said the safety and well-being of crews and contractors is its first priority, not least in West Africa where piracy is a known risk factor.

In order to minimise the risk of personal injury, as well as operating losses due to assault, the group has implemented an anti-piracy policy which includes an extensive description of how the crew and th officers should act in case of piracy attacks.

The policy comprises measures to be taken both during and after a possible assault.

Earlier, security provider Diaplous Group had said: “A vessel reported being boarded by five armed persons, who approached the vessel by one skiff.”

EOS Risk, a UK-based security provider, said the ship had been hijacked.

‘Missing tanker’

The IMB has issued a “missing tanker” report for the Monjasa Reformer.

“On 25 March 2023, the tanker has been attacked and boarded by armed pirates.”

“The owners have lost contact/communication with their tanker,” it added.

IMB said the ship is painted “with black topside, black vertical sides with an orange stripe all around the hull, black funnel with orange funnel logo.”

The tanker had an estimated 3.8m freeboard at the time, and was drifting, according to security company Ambrey.

Ambrey understands that the French Navy has been assisting with the search.

According to automatic identification system data, the ship last broadcast a signal nearly two days ago when it was underway, laden with cargo and headed to “Congo offshore”.

The waters off Africa’s west coast — specifically the Gulf of Guinea — were once considered the world’s piracy hotspot, but since 2022 criminal activity has fallen off considerably.

The International Maritime Bureau said there were just 19 incidents of piracy in 2022, down from 35 in 2021 and 84 in 2020.

There have been few high-profile piracy incidents this year — primarily, ships being fired upon or approached by suspicious boats — though authorities and analysts urge shipowners to continue to be cautious in the area.