2164
Views

After Pirate Attack, Mojasa Doubles Down on West Africa Fuels Business

Monjasa reformer
Monjasa Reformer after a hijacking, March 2023 (Marine Nationale)

Published Nov 12, 2023 12:00 PM by The Maritime Executive

Danish oil and shipping group Monjasa is moving to strengthen its West Africa operations with the acquisition of two product tankers, which it will use to provide floating storage and bunkering operations.

The company, which is owned by Danish billionaire Anders Østergaard, has been seeking to buy second-hand tonnage as part of plans to expand services in niche markets like West Africa, Northwest Europe, the Arabian Gulf and Panama.

Earlier this year, Monjasa acquired three tankers and has seen the number of its owned vessels increase from five to 13 since 2018. Overall, the company’s fleet comprises some 30 tankers and barges deployed worldwide. The company says that focusing on fleet expansion and reducing dependence on chartered vessels has enabled its specialized operations and lowering overall operating costs.

Monjasa has been operating in the region for a decade and has supplied 10 million tonnes of fuel. The company says that although operating in West Africa is “hard,” more so due to piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, it remains determned to take up the challenge. It has become one of the leading fuel companies in West Africa, providing services from its base in the port of Lomé, Togo.

The volatility of the region came into play last year when one of its product tankers, the Monjasa Reformer, was boarded by pirates. Six crewmembers were taken hostage for five weeks.

To demonstrate its commitment to West Africa, Monjasa took delivery of the newly-acquired Monjasa Leader and Refiner, which were then dry docked for renewal surveys, name change and subsequent hull blasting and painting matching its fleet design.

Built in 2008, Leader is a 69,000 dwt Panamax tanker that was formerly known as Cabo San Antonio and was acquired from Ultratank in Chile. The Liberia-flagged tanker becomes the company’s biggest owned vessel and represents its single most important tanker acquisition ever. Leader will replace the 119,456 dwt SKS Dokka, which has been chartered-in for the past three years.

Also being deployed to West Africa is Refiner, a 13,051 dwt product tanker built in 2009 and sailing under the flag of Liberia. The vessel, formerly Saturn, has a length of 128 meters.