Dryad Maritime is warning of the possible hijack of a Liberian flagged tanker MT Kerala. The vessel, owned by Dynacom Tankers, has been reported as missing off the coast of Angola, having last been sighted seven nautical miles NNW of Luanda. The tanker’s disappearance may represent a significant extension of maritime crime emanating from the Gulf of Guinea region, most probably from Nigerian criminal gangs.
If confirmed as a hijack, this would be the furthest south that Nigerian-based criminals had struck for the purposes of refined product cargo theft – a crime hitherto perpetrated across the Gulf of Guinea region, from Abidjan (Ivory Coast) in the west to Port Gentil (Gabon) in the south. If the MT Kerala has been hijacked, an unfortunate coincidence will be at play, with Dynacom Tankers being the owners of the last vessel to be released by Somali pirates in 2013 (MT Smyrni) and the owners of the first hijacked vessel in West Africa in 2014.