Liberia says ‘Kerala’ hijacked

Feb 07 2014

Liberia has entered into the controversy surrounding the alleged hijacking of Dynacom’s LR1 ‘Kerala’ off Angola on 18th January, 2014.

The flag state said that although the investigation is still ongoing, the evidence gathered thus far by an INTERPOL-led incident response team has allowed the Liberian Registry to conclude that the vessel was hijacked by pirates.

Liberia, in co-operation with Dynacom, requested the attendance in Tema, Ghana, of the incident response team.

This team, supported and helped by the Ghanaian authorities, undertook a crime scene investigation on board the vessel. A representative of the Liberian Flag Administration also attended the scene to observe the collection of forensic evidence by the authorities. All parties were given full access to the vessel's documents, officers and crew.

During the incident, the registry said that the pirates disabled the vessel’s AIS and other communication equipment so that the vessel could not be tracked from shore or satellite. The pirates also painted over the identifying features of the vessel, including funnel, name and IMO number and undertook three separate ship-to-ship transfers unloading about 12,271.5 tonnes of oil in total.

Dynacom said that the company regained contact with the vessel on 26th January, 2014, shortly after the pirates had disembarked. The vessel immediately set a course for Tema, as a port of refuge.

On arrival at Tema, all crew members received immediate medical treatment. During the hijacking, one crew member was stabbed by the pirates and others were beaten. 

Liberia will continue working with the authorities in Ghana, Nigeria and Angola and elsewhere in the region in order to bring to justice the perpetrators of this crime, the registry stressed. 

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