Pirates seize Monjasa product tanker in Gulf of Guinea

A chemical tanker Monjasa Reformer was boarded by pirates on Saturday, March 25, some 140 nautical miles West of Port Pointe-Noire, DR Congo.

Image for illustration purposes; Monjasa Server. Courtesy of Monjasa

A group of five pirates approached the tanker in a skiff before boarding it, the British-French naval maritime response center Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) said.

Following the attack, the ship was seized by the pirates, who switched off the tanker’s AIS transponder.

The vessel, owned by Danish marine fuel supplier Monjasa, had 16 crew on board, who reportedly all took refuge in the citadel.

Monjasa confirmed the attack, saying that it had lost all communication with the vessel, and that it was working with local authorities to get in contact with the crew.

MDAT-GoG reported that the vessel was sighted on March 28 around about 540 miles further off shore  (0409S, 00146E), asking masters in the vicinity to report any further sighting of the vessel, described as having a black hull with a black funnel and orange logo.

“The ongoing serious and unfortunate incident with Monjasa Reformer, unfortunately, shows with all clarity that the problems with piracy in West Africa are far from solved. Our thoughts go first and foremost to the crew on board and their loved ones at home, and we are working together with Monjasa and relevant authorities at home and in the area to resolve the situation and get the seafarers home safely,” said Anne H. Steffensen, Director General & CEO of Danish Shipping.

She added that the current situation shows that most countries in the region lack sufficient resources and capacities to respond to such incidents, calling for Danish naval authorities, and those from the EU to bolster naval presence in the area to help curb similar incidents.

In 2022, the total number of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea was 19. A decrease from 35 attacks in 2021 and 84 attacks in 2020.