Pirates Took Three Russians Hostage Off The Coast Of Benin
Pirates have seized the container ship, Tommi Ritscher, off the coast of Benin. Three Russian sailors were among the hostages, the Russian Embassy in Benin said.
"According to the command of the Benin Navy, on Sunday, April 19, 2020, the container ship "Tommi Ritscher," standing on the roadstead in the port of Cotonou, was attacked by pirates.
The hostages on board the ship are 7-8 crew members, among whom may be Russian citizens. The Embassy, for its part, checks this information.
Currently, the container ship is blocked by patrol boats of the Benin Navy and is located in the territorial waters of the Republic.
The Embassy monitors the development of the situation and maintains close working contact with the command of the Benin Navy and the administration of the port of Cotonou."
The ship, which was anchored in the port of Cotonou, was captured on April 19, the command of the Benin Navy said earlier. Several crew members were on board at the time of the capture. The captured vessel was blocked by military boats.
According to the publication Marine Insight, 11 sailors were locked in the premises, and eight more were captured. The container ship's crew included Russians, citizens of Ukraine, Bulgaria and the Philippines. As an informed source previously told Interfax, there are Russian-speaking crew members on board the hijacked vessel, but their citizenship has not yet been established.
The container ship Tommi Ritscher is owned by Wollerton Shipping, and the ship's operator is the German Reederei Gerd Ritscher. Dryad Global, which covers Maritime safety, indicated that the ship is flying the flag of Portugal.