Woollerton Shipping as owner and Transeste Schiffahrt as managers of the container ship “Tommi Ritscher” regret to report that pirates boarded the vessel whilst moored at Cotonou anchorage, Benin at approximately 0300 BST, 19th April 2020.
The Benin Navy and local port authorities were immediately informed of the attack after the company lost contact with the ship. The Benin Navy deployed three vessels as escorts and are investigating the matter further. Contact with the some of the crew has been re-established. 11 crew members were able to safely lock in the citadel, however unfortunately we are unable to contact eight other crew members who remain unaccounted for.
Our priority is the ongoing safety and welfare of the crew. Our thoughts are with the families of the missing seafarers during this difficult time and we are constantly updating them on the situation. We are working closely with the relevant stakeholders and specialists to ensure the safe return of our much-valued crew members as soon as possible. Because of the delicate nature of the situation no operational details will be provided going forward that may jeopardise efforts to affect the safe release of those being held.