Dutch shipping company De Poli Shipmanagement has confirmed it has established contact with its fifteen seafarers that have been taken hostage following the piracy attack on March 11. The crew of the tanker Davide B is said to be doing well given the circumstances.
The tanker Davide B was sailing under a Maltese flag and chartered by De Poli when it was attacked off the coast of Benin in West Africa by pirates. The tanker was attacked on the high seas about 390 kilometres (about 210 nautical miles) south of the African port of Cotonou in the Gulf of Guinea. This makes it the furthest recorded kidnapping incident to date. The Gulf of Guinea is currently considered the piracy hotspot.
Six of the 21 crew from Ukraine, Romania and the Philippines were left behind on the ship. The other fifteen were kidnapped. The ship was on its way from Riga, Latvia, to Lagos, Nigeria.
According to a spokesperson, hijackings and kidnappings are common in the Gulf of Guinea: ‘There is a pattern of security incidents in this area.’ He would not say anything about the security on the Davide B, only that ‘visible and invisible measures’ had been taken.
In talks with kidnappers
De Poli said the crew are being held captive together. ‘The first contact with those holding our crew is an encouraging step in our efforts to resolve this distressing situation. We have meanwhile entered in a dialogue with the kidnappers with the objective to have a swift and safe release of our men.’
De Poli emphasises it is determined to do everything possible to reunite the seafarers with their loved ones. It is thought that they have been taken to the West African coast and are being held until a ransom is paid.
Picture by De Poli Shipmanagement.