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Six crew taken hostage in pirate attack off Equatorial Guinea

UPDATE: Liberia-flagged, Peter Döhle managed vessel has proceeded to safe waters with 12 remaining seafarers

SIX crew members have been taken hostage in an armed pirate attack off Equatorial Guinea.

The master, chief mate, second officer, second engineer, bosun and cook were taken hostage from the 2006-built, 3,091 teu, Liberia-flagged containership Demeter on Saturday morning, according to a Dryad Maritime report.

Managers Peter Döhle confirmed the incident took place at approximately 06.06am local time. "Demeter was attacked and boarded by pirates. The attackers have taken six of the ship’s crew hostage. All of the 12 remaining seafarers of Demeter are safe and unhurt and the vessel has proceeded to safe waters."

"All relevant authorities including the IMB Piracy Centre have been informed.

"Peter Döhle is working closely with the local authorities and professional advisors to secure the earliest release of its crew.

"The families of those kidnapped crew are being kept in touch with the situation."

The Demeter is owned by Puerto Varas Shipping Company Limited, Isle of Man. The vessel was en route to Onne, Nigeria from Malabo in Equatorial Guinea, when it was attacked by pirates approximately 40 nautical miles south of Bonny Island.  

The pirates attacked the vessel in a speedboat and eight pirates boarded the vessel, Lloyd’s List Intelligence reported.  

The Liberian Registry confirmed it was investigating the hijacking and working with the vessel’s owner.

This is the first reported incident of piracy in the waters off Equatorial Guinea this year, according to Dryad, which assess the risk to shipping to be currently low in the area.

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