Mystery surrounds ’Kerala’ ‘hijacking’

Jan 31 2014

Dynacom has said that contact with the allegedly hijacked Panamax tanker ‘Kerala’ was re-established on 26th January (see last week’s news).

The company said in a statement; “We are relieved to advise that on Sunday, 26th January 2014, we were able to re-establish contact with the vessel and speak to the Master. All crew members are alive and accounted for, but one is wounded and all have clearly been affected by their ordeal. A large amount of cargo has been stolen.”

Contact was lost with the vessel on 18th January 2014. Dynacom said that it instigated the company’s emergency response procedures and engaged professionals experienced in dealing with these type of incidents to assist.

”It quickly became apparent that we were dealing with a piracy incident and that the vessel had been hijacked. In accordance with good practice, we did not provide detailed press releases while the situation was unfolding, but worked alongside the relevant authorities to try to resolve the incident,” the statement said.

Dynacom also said that representatives of international law enforcement and intelligence agencies experienced in dealing with piracy incidents will be going on board to gather intelligence and forensic evidence from the vessel and her crew.

Angolan reports this week suggested that the company had faked the whole episode, an accusation strenuously denied by Dynacom.

However, a later report from Nigeria received today (Friday) claimed that the Nigerian Navy had intercepted the ‘Kerala’.

In a statement, Commodore Kabir Aliyu, director of Naval Information said that the vessel was intercepted using the Nigerian Navy’s remote surveillance system and naval patrols.

He further claimed that the vessel was under custody in Tema, Ghana and that Interpol was investigating the alleged hijacking.

An IMB report on 25th January said the vessel was about 50 miles Southwest of Nigeria’s Pennington Oil Terminal. As a result, three patrol boats were deployed to search for the vessel, the Nigerians said. 

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