The oil tanker reported missing on January 18 at Angola, Luanda Anchorage was allegedly released by hijackers, according to a statement from the vessel's owner, Greece-based Dynacom Tankers Management Ltd.
The Liberian-flagged MT Kerala was hijacked by pirates who stole a large amount of cargo before leaving yesterday, Dynacom said, adding that it was able to reestablish contact with the ship’s master, and all crew members are alive and accounted for. One injury has been reported.
“Representatives of international law enforcement and intelligence agencies that are experienced in dealing with piracy incidents will be attending on board to gather intelligence and forensic evidence from the vessel and crew in order to try to bring to justice those that perpetrated this crime on our vessel and our people,” Dynacom said.
Reports raise concern that the maritime industry is witnessing a rise in piracy off Africa’s western coast, although it appears to be in decline off former hotbed Somalia.
In contradiction to Dynacom’s claim though, the Angolan Navy denies the hijacking ever took place, saying the ship’s crew turned off navigation and communication devices to fake the attack.