Maltese-flagged vessel with 24 Indian crew hijacked in West-Central Africa

Amidst reports of West Africa, especially the Gulf of Guinea, becoming a hotbed of pirate activity, a cargo-laden Maltese-flagged chemical tanker with a 24-member Indian crew has been reported hijacked by pirates off Port Gentil in the West-Central African island nation of Gabon.

m.v. Cotton, owned by a Turkish company, was hijacked by suspected pirates on Sunday as it was about to enter the port to offload its cargo of about 10,000 tonnes of chemical oils.

While the current position of the vessel is not immediately known, unconfirmed reports suggest that it was commandeered to the Nigerian coast, which has become a haven for sea pirates lately.

The spectre of piracy descending on West Africa was clearly stated by the International Maritime Bureau in its latest report.

The vessel, it is believed by piracy experts, was hijacked with the purpose of stealing cargo.

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