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Kidnapped crew member of Greek tanker dies, remaining three freed

Three of the four kidnapped crew
members of the oil tanker Elka Aristotle have been released, however, the
fourth crew member, a Filipino national has died, European Products Carriers
Ltd., managers of the Greek-flagged vessel, informed.

“A full investigation is underway
into the situation, but it is understood that his demise was not as a result of
any actions by those holding the crew hostage but due to illness,” the company

The three released crew members
have undergone medical checks and are reported to be well.

They were being debriefed by the
local authorities prior to returning home to the Philippines, Greece, and
Georgia respectively.

The tanker was boarded by armed
pirates on November 4, 2019 while anchored near the West African port of Lome,

The incident occurred only two
days after nine crew members were taken hostage from a bulk carrier off
Cotonou, Benin. The anchored vessel was boarded by perpetrators while it was
waiting for berth to discharge cargo.
The seas around West Africa have
been characterized as the world’s most dangerous for piracy, amid rampant
kidnapping incidents over the recent period. Specifically, in the first nine
months of 2019, the region accounted for 86% of the 49 crew taken hostage and
82% of the 70 crew kidnapped globally.

The trend has, unfortunately,
resumed with at least four ships attacked in the region over the past month.

Seafarer unions and other
industry bodies have been urging relevant authorities to allocate all necessary
assets to the region in order to eliminate piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and
protect the seafarers sailing through the region.
World Maritime News.

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