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Crew kidnapped off the coast of Benin

Five crew members including the Captain have been kidnapped from a Pacific International Lines (PIL) vessel 150 miles southwest of Cotonou Benin.

The attack occurred on 2 July when five crew were abducted all said to be Chinese nationals. Kota Budi is a Singapore flagged ship and the 27,000dwt multi-purpose vessel had a further 15 crew on board who are all reported safe, according to security consultancy Dryad Global.

PIL told Container News, "On 2 July 2020 at about 23:35hrs local time,  the PIL owned and operated multipurpose vessel Kota Budi encountered a piracy attack in the Gulf of Guinea. Five crew members including the master were taken from the vessel and presumed kidnapped. The vessel and remaining 15 crew members on board are safe and healthy, and additional measures have been put in place to ensure their safety and the well-being of all on board.

"PIL is currently working with the flag state, local authorities and contacts to establish the whereabouts of the missing master and crew, and is taking strenuous and urgent steps to ensure their well-being and safe return."

The latest attack off the coast of Benin follows the abduction of eight crew from the German-owned Tommi Ritscher in April, the crew were released a month later.

Dryad Global reports that many attacks are now taking place away from Nigerian waters following the introduction of security forces to protect the country's offshore industry and other shipping interests.

"Why bother taking the risk of being caught in Nigerian waters when you can operate freely in the surrounding area in places like Cotonou and Lome," said Munro Anderson of Dryad Global.

Nick Savvides
Managing Editor

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