An oil tanker with 22 Indian crew members on board went missing off the coast of Benin in the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa on Thursday.
Here's all you need to know about the missing vessel:
- Reports claim that the Panama-flag merchant ship named MT Marine Express was either hijacked by pirates for ransom or attacked for the gasoline that it is carrying.
- The Ministry of External Affairs on Saturday night said that ship belongs to Mumbai-based Anglo Eastern shipping.
A merchant vessel Marine Express (oil tanker), owned by Mumbai-based Anglo Eastern shipping company with 22 Indian nationals onboard, is presumably missing off the coast of Benin in the Gulf of Guinea.— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) February 3, 2018
- The oil tanker which is carrying 13,500 tonne of gasoline was last heard from at 6:30 pm on January 31 when it was docked at at Cotonou, Benin.
"We have informed Nigerian authorities and the coast guard there to carry out search for the missing ship. Till Saturday, there was no trace of the ship. The owners and the manning agent from Mumbai had alerted us about the missing ship," BR Shekar, the additional charge as director general of shipping, Mumbai told Times of India.
- According to a ship tracking finder website called Vessel Finder, the ship was last found in the Gulf of Guinea at 2:36 am on February 1.
- Even the Anglo Eastern Ship Management took to Twitter to reassure the family members of the missing crew members that they are trying to loacte the vessel.
We regret that contact has been lost with the AE-managed MT Marine Express while at Cotonou, Benin. Last contact was at 03:30 UTC, Feb 1. Authorities have been alerted and are responding. Our top priority is the safety of the crew, whose families have been contacted. Updates TBA.— Anglo-Eastern (@angloeasterngrp) February 2, 2018
- Though it is not known as to which states the missing crew members belong to, reports have said that two of them hail from Kerala. One of the sailors has been identified as Sree Unni.
- Meanwhile, the MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar has said they are trying to locate the ship and rescue the Indians.
Our Mission in Abuja (Nigeria) is in touch with the authorities in Benin and Nigeria for their help in locating the ship and is constantly monitoring the situation. A 24-hour helpline number set up by the Embassy for information on those missing is +234-9070343860— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) February 3, 2018
- The relatives of the missing sailors have approached the Ministry of Shipping, who in turn are co-ordinating with their counterparts in Nigeria and other African counties to locate the ship at the earliest.
"We fear the worst. We are in touch with the MEA also," a family member of Unni was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times
- Officials from the Ministry of Shipping has said that the Nigerian Navy and Coast Guard have carried out an aerial search at and around the location where the vessel was last anchored. However, they have not been able to trace it till now.
- The tanker which was built in 2009 and weighs gross tonnage is 28054 tons is carrying $8.1 million worth gasoline.
- In January, another ship called MT Barret had gone missing off the coast of Benin.