Several crew members, including a Polish sailor, were abducted during an attack on a container ship in the Gulf of Guinea, the Polish Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday.
The Danish Navy announced this week that pirates had abducted a total of six crew members of the Greek-owned ship Tonsberg in international waters off the island of Bioko (Equatorial Guinea).
The Polish Foreign Minister informed that “he received information regarding the abduction of members of the crew of the Tonsberg ship in the Gulf of Guinea and confirms that one of the abducted persons is a Polish citizen”.
He also said in a press release that he was in contact with diplomats from “other countries”, as well as with the ship-owning company to coordinate efforts to find and rescue the hostages.
According to the Danish Ministry of Defense, one of his frigates, Esbern Snare, which has been patrolling the area since November, chased the pirates, who left Tonsberg on a small boat on which the hostages were.
A frigate helicopter followed them – from a distance, so as not to endanger the lives of the hostages – but was forced to stop when the pirates entered the territorial waters of Nigeria, as the rules of engagement of the Danish Navy did not allow it to enter waters of that country.
In addition to the six hostages, one injured person was rescued and received medical treatment on the frigate, while 14 other crew members are safe and sound and are still on Tonsberg, a spokesman for the Danish Defense Ministry told Ritzau news agency.
According to the specialized website Marine Traffic, Tonsberg is currently off the coast of Benin.
Attacks on ships aimed at abducting members of their crews for ransom have become more frequent in recent years in the Gulf of Guinea, which stretches 5,700 kilometers into West Africa. They are mainly committed by pirates from Nigeria.
At the bottom of the Gulf, which stretches from Senegal to Angola, there are large deposits of hydrocarbons, while the area is also rich in catches.
The area has become a global hub for illegal maritime activities: it accounted for 99% of pirate sailors’ abductions in 2020, according to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Prevention and the Stable Seas Research Institute. , which was released the day before yesterday Tuesday.