Pirates made away 5,000 tons of oil worth $5 million in a Nigerian owned vessel after its seizure on Ghana-Ivory Coast waters.
The Panamanian-flagged vessel, ITRI, according to authorities in Ivory Coast was seized January 16, 2013 when it was about to deposit 5,000 tons of jet fuel cargo at the port of Abidjan.
After the seizure, the attackers were believed to have moved the vessel into Ghanaian waters.
The Ivorian government said it has located the vessel with 16 crew members aboard, off neighboring Ghana, the Associated Press January 21, 2013 reported citing an official statement.
Ivorian-based shipping company Koda Maritime’s deputy director Serge Constant also told the BBC that “We are getting contradictory information about police operations so we don’t know what’s exactly going on. But it’s now certain that the tanker has been taken into Ghanaian waters”.
But this was denied by the Ghana Maritime Authority. Head of the GMA, Mr Peter Azumah indicated to the BBC that there had been no sighting of the ship in Ghanaian waters.
Owner of the ship and Chairman of Nigerian-based Brila Energy, Rowaye Jubril confirmed that the vessel was hijacked but no arrest was made despite the vessel being freed.
“Hijackers were not arrested. They escaped. The stolen cargo is estimated at about $5 million” Mr Rowaye Jubril was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.
The crew was later released unharmed but Mr Jubril did not say where the ship was freed, the AP reports.
Pirate attacks have sharply increased in recent years off West Africa, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
By Ekow Quandzie