Maritime piracy lawyers know attacks are on the rise in the Gulf of Guinea off Togo, as evidenced by the seizure of a Greek-run oil tanker, the MT Energy Centurion.
Pirates stole 3,000 tons of fuel from the ship then released it, officials said. They also took jewelry and money from the crew. The pirates escaped Thursday in a lifeboat taken from the ship.
The tanker was carrying 56,000 tons of fuel and 23 Russian crew members when it was hijacked. No crew members were harmed. Authorities located the ship in Nigerian waters, a Nigerian official confirmed, and were still pursuing the attackers.
The Gulf of Guinea spans more than a dozen countries from Guinea to Angola, including Nigeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast. It is a rich source of oil, cocoa and metals. There have been 8 pirate attacks reported off Togo since January.