UPDATE: Pirates Seize Greek Tanker & Crew off Togo Following Gunfight with Navy

By MarEx 2012-08-29 12:39:02

Update - August 29, 2012, 12:35 p.m.

The hijacked oil tanker has been tracked down off the coast of Nigeria and authorities confirm that the ship is under the control of pirates.

The ship's operator, Golden Energy Management, wholeheartedly believe that the pirates only have the intention to steal the cargo. A nearby French naval ship has reported back to the company stating that the crew are believed to be in good health and unharmed.

According to Reuters, Russia's Foreign Ministry said 23 Russian crew were aboard the tanker and added there was no immediate threat to their lives. The tanker was carrying some 50,000 tonnes of diesel and petrol fuel.

View our initial report on the incident below.

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Pirates have hijacked a Greek-owned oil tanker with a crew of at least 20 off the coast of Togo today, according to local armed forces officials. This is the latest in a series of attacks on shipping in the Gulf of Guinea.

Togolese forces were trying to locate the tanker after they were informed of the attack in the early hours of Tuesday.

The assailants were able to take control of the ship's bridge and kidnap about 24 mariners before escaping through a cloud of gunshots from a naval patrol boat.

It is still unclear if anyone was injured in the attack. The pirates took control of the vessel unusually quickly, although an alarm from the ship alerted the Togolese navy, stated a representative from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

The navy boat followed the tanker and sailors exchanged gunfire with the pirates before the tanker got away.

This attack on the Greek oil tanker comes about a week after a similar attack on another tanker in the region. In that attack, the pirates released the crew after stealing the oil onboard.