Seafarers kidnapped from De Poli tanker, Davide B, have been released by captors, just over a month after being taken hostage.
15 mariners kidnapped from the 19,800-dwt, 2016-built tanker, Davide B, have been released from captivity in the Gulf of Guinea. The crew members were kidnapped on 11th March and are reported to be well and in good health, considering the circumstances, says Dutch company, De Poli.
De Poli Tankers chief executive Chiara de Poli said:
“The past weeks have been an extremely difficult period for everyone, in particular for our 15 seafarers and their families.
“We admire our crew members for their courage during this period and like to thank their families for their patience and resilience during a time of great uncertainty.”
The Davide B was sailing in the Gulf of Guinea roughly 210nm S of Cotonou, Benin, when nine armed assailants boarded the ship. 15 of the 21 mostly Romanian, Ukrainian and Filipino were taken, while six were left behind. De Poli was able to make contact with the kidnapped crewmembers on 17th March.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) says the waters of West Africa have seen a marked increase in pirate activity in recent months and the region represented 43% of all piracy in the first quarter of 2021.
IMB director, Michael Howlett says pirates have been willing to carry out attacks further and further from shore, with the attack on the Davide B being the furthest from shore in this quarter.
“It’s critical that seafarers remain cautious and vigilant when travelling in nearby waters and report all incidents to the Regional Authorities and the IMB [Piracy Reporting Centre],” he said.
“Only improved knowledge sharing channels and increased collaboration between maritime response authorities will reduce the risk to seafarers in the region.”