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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
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01/10/18 10:44

Switzerland too under attack off Africa

Pirates in action in Nigerian waters kidnap 12 crew members from Swiss cargo ship Glarus, owned by Massoel of Geneva

Local press agencies reported – and the concerned shipping company in Switzerland has confirmed through its consultant specialised in crisis management MTI Network – that pirates in action in in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigerian waters, have kidnapped 12 crew members from Swiss cargo ship Glarus, owned by Massoel of Geneva; “the families of the hostages have been informed of the situation. we are working with the authorities and specialists to secure the speedy and safe release of those being held" the Swiss firm said in a statement.

“Security and well-being of hostages is the first and absolute priority of Massoel Shipping” said the company which informed Switzerland’s foreign ministry that none of the crew members is a Swiss national.

The 2001-built vessel at Mitsui Shipbuilding, 46, 509 dwt and boasting 4 cranes aboard, was attacked 45 nautical miles southwest of Bonny Island on its way between Lagos and Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta carrying a parcel of bulk wheat. The gang boarded the vessel using ladders and cut through protective razor wire on deck and, after destroying much of the ship's communications equipment, left with 12 of the 19 crew as hostages: 7 are Filipinos, the rest are from Slovenia, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia and Bosnia, according to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.

The ship is currently being held at Bonny Island; all the appropriate authorities have been notified and a pilot and naval officers are currently on-board  the vessel at the inner anchorage.

In a second statement, the day following the capture, Massoel added that “contact has now been made with those holding 12 crew members hostage; it is understood that all his crew are together and all are well and unharmed”.

Meanwhile the Glarus was safely transferred and moored alongside at Port Harcourt with the remaining 7 crew members on board.

Kidnapping for ransom is a common problem in Nigeria and foreigners are frequently targeted; as a matter of fact holding hostages is an increasing problem in that part of Africa and specifically of the Lagos-governed country. Until the recent past, when they declined due to the increased presence of international warships and shipping firms hiring private security, pirate attacks were common off the coast of Somalia.

The area of the Gulf of Guinea remains a dangerous den of pirate activity with more successful kidnappings last year than in 2016, according to a report by Oceans Beyond Piracy.  The International Chamber of Commerce’s International Maritime Bureau (IMB) stated that the Gulf of Guinea accounted for 29 pirate incidents in the first quarter of 2018, i.e. over 40% of the global total.

In 2017, four British nationals were abducted in Delta state while working as missionaries, and one of them finally killed before the three others returned safely home after authorities negotiated their release.

Massoel Shipping SA is a Swiss shipping company, operating since 1982, specializing in the transportation of dry bulk cargoes, and is owned by Swiss national Giorgio Sulser, according to our latest records.

The headquarters is located in one of the main streets in the city business and commercial centre of Geneva, recognised as one of the leading commodity trading and shipping hubs of the world.

Massoel operates its own fleet of 11 Swiss flag vessels, ageing from 2002 to 2013, trading worldwide and works in joint ventures with recognized industry specialists; commercial management is performed in house through its team of experienced chartering and operation staff.  The Swiss company has established a cooperation with ACE Shipping in Copenhagen for the chartering of its smaller tonnage

Massoel is providing technical management through subsidiary Mare Management SA, Geneva, headquartered in Switzerland inside their same office in Geneva and holding an operating branch office in Piraeus which employs an experienced professionals team of 15 persons who manages 8 Swiss-flagged bulk carriers vessels and 3 multipurpose vessels by providing full technical management (including maintenance, crewing, marine & safety).

 

Angelo Scorza

 

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