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The French navy has confirmed it escorted a tanker to a port in the Gulf of Guinea after pirates initially hijacked the vessel and kidnapped some of its crew members.

French navy vessel with the Monjasa Reformer

Aerial image of the Monjasa Reformer

The Monjasa Reformer, a Liberian-flagged oil and chemical tanker with 16 crew members on board, was seized last weekend by five armed individuals approximately 135 miles west of the Republic of Congo’s Port Pointe-Noire.

On Friday, Danish shipping company Monjasa, the vessel’s owner, stated that the hijackers had abandoned the ship late on Thursday, taking some crew members with them. Svend Stenberg Molholt, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, confirmed in an interview that the remaining crew members and the vessel were now secured and under the protection of the French navy.

Molholt reported that the rescued crew members were all in good health and would be transported back to Lome, Togo. The shipping company did not disclose the number of missing crew members. Monjasa is currently awaiting contact from the kidnappers and is collaborating with external experts to develop various strategies for when that occurs. According to Danish media, initial contact has been made, and pirates have demanded a ransom for the kidnapped crew’s release.

Monjasa reported no damage to the ship or its cargo. The company says it is now focused on securing the safe return of the abducted crew members.


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