Private Militia Seize Ship in Commercial Dispute
A Singapore-flagged Aframax tanker has been seized by private militia with AK-47 machine guns in the Cameroon.
The vessel Barents Sea, with 26 crew, was seized at the Sonara refinery in Limbe, according to Singapore-based ship management company Eastern Pacific Shipping.
The company claims the action was undertaken by local charterer DSC Marine in clear violation of the law. "Eastern Pacific Shipping condemns this act of unprovoked aggression and strongly urges the Cameroonian government to enforce its security forces to safely and immediately release the vessel and the 26 crew on board in accordance with international law. The safe release of our crew, which includes nationals from India, Ukraine, China, Philippines and Turkey is our main priority.”
According to local media, Cameroon's only crude oil refinery has been shut down since late January due to a lack of crude oil. The Barents Sea has been anchored off the coast since mid-December due to a financial dispute, her cargo still unloaded.
The crew of the Barents Sea are apparently unharmed.