Monday, May 14, 2012

Piracy returns - Suezmax hijacked - LR1 released

Pirates boarded Dynacom’s Liberian flag Suezmax ‘Smyrni’ on Thursday some 430 miles northeast of Yemen’s Socotra Island, Jacqueline Sherriff, a EUNAVFOR spokeswoman confirmed by phone to Bloomberg.

“They are on board the vessel with guns,” Ody Valatsas, Dynacom Tankers Management chartering manager, said by email, declining to comment further.

The vessel was laden with 135,000 tonnes of crude oil reportedly loaded at a Turkish loading terminal.

The seized tanker is the largest vessel to be hijacked since February 2011, according to Sherriff and the IMB.

Dynacom Tankers Management said in a statement that it was working with the relevant authorities.

In another incident, an Aframax escaped on Wednesday from pirates armed with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 assault rifles off the Somali coast, IMB spokesman, Cyrus Mody, told Bloomberg.

Elsewhere off West Africa, West African pirates freed the hijacked LR1 ‘BW Rhine’ last Friday, but not before stealing some of her cargo of gasoline.

BW Maritime spokesman Nick Fell told Reuters that the company thought that the tanker had been taken for its gasoline cargo, which was worth millions of dollars.

"We believe that was the purpose. Some of the cargo has been stolen," Fell told Reuters. All 24 crew members were reported safe, he added.

The BW Rhine was seized from an anchorage off Lome, Togo on 28th April, the first incident of its kind near the country's capital, BW Maritime reported.

Three of the crew members, as well as the captain, were Indian, while the rest of the crew were Filipino, or Chinese, including some from Hong Kong.

‘BW Rhine’s’ gasoline was owned by the Swiss-based trading house Vitol, according to industry sources.

It was thought that the LR1 was loaded with about 60,000 tonnes of gasoline and with spot prices currently well over $1,000 per tonne, the entire shipment could be worth more than $60 mill.

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