Oil Tanker Likely Hijacked off Ivory Coast
The French-owned oil tanker, M/T Gascogne, went missing off Ivory Coast along with its 17 member crew on board. Suspected Nigerian pirates hijacked the Luxembourg-flagged tanker on Sunday, February 3.
The presumed attack comes amid a series of escalating attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, which follows the continent's southward curve from Liberia to Gabon. The Gascogne was the second vessel to be seized off Ivory Coast in less than three weeks and the first to have been taken so far from shore.
In another attack at the end of January off Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta, pirates on several small boats assaulted another tanker. In a sign of how violent the attacks have grown, the pirates fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the tanker during the onslaught that luckily missed the ship. The crew suffered no injuries in the attack and their ship escaped, though it sustained damage from the gunfire.
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exactAIS® tracking of the Gascogne shows an irregular pattern around the time of the suspected hijacking as it appears to be waiting to go into the port of Abidjan.