27 January 2014

Angola: Missing Oil Tanker Found in Nigeria

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Tanker (file photo).

The Oil tanker Kerala, of Liberian flag, working for Sonangol, which went missing on January 18, while awaiting for authorization to anchor in Luanda, was located on Sunday in Nigeria, said the spokesman of the Angolan Navy, captain Augusto Alfredo Lourenço.

According to the source, the tugboat Gare, that is a copy of the other, with the same name which participated in actions of piracy in Gabon in 2013 and currently deactivated in Nigeria, has neared Kerala, in the Angolan coast, and established contact with the crew.

With 60.000 tons of diesel, the oil tanker, whose contract of service provision to Sonangol will end on February 12, has shut down the communication system on 18 February night and has navigated towards Nigeria.

The Angolan Navy denies the theory of hijacking, previously alleged and it suspects of a simulation action by the 27-member crew, from India and Philippines and the agent of the vessel, said the navy officer.

"At this moment the tugboat and oil tanker Kerala are in Nigeria", stated the spokesman of Angolan Navy, before ensuring the inexistence of "any piracy action in the national water".

The Angolan sea is a very important international means of communication, and it has several navigating lines which connect Europe, Africa, and America to Indian Ocean.

More than 95 percent of external commerce of the country is made through the sea.

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