Crew members kidnapped from supertanker off Nigeria

Crude oil tanker Nave Constellation (IMO 9515929) has been attacked off Nigeria. The pirates kidnapped 19 crew members –18 of them Indians and one of them Turkish, Navios Tanker Management said on Wednesday. Seven crew were thought still to be on board the tanker.

The incident happened late Tuesday about 26nm SE of the Egina terminal, 77nm from Bonny Island, a key loading point for Nigerian crude. The vessel had only recently collected its cargo. Maritime security specialist Dryad Global said that vessels conducting operations at the Egina, Usan and Serpentina terminals were assessed to be operating at heightened risk in the medium to longer term.

Nave Constellation was fully loaded at the time

The seven crew left behind managed to sail the vessel to a safe location, Navios said.

Although the Gulf of Guinea has become a hotspot for piracy in the past two years, an attack on a supertanker is a rare event.

Dryad said that this was the sixth maritime security incident and the fourth kidnapping incident to occur within 30 nm of the South Eastern boundary of the Nigerian EEZ this year, adding that “this is further confirmation of a developing trend of incidents that are assessed to be perpetuated by a well-resourced pirate action group, most likely operating from one or more mother-ship vessels.”

2010-built, Hong Kong-flagged, 157,039 gt Nave Constellation is owned by Shinyo Saowalak Ltd care of Navios Tankers Management Inc of Piraeus, Greece. ISM manager is Anglo-Eastern Tanker Mgmt-HKG of Hong Kong. It is entered with Gard P&I Club on behalf of Shinyo Saowalak Ltd.