Monjasa Reformer; Image credit French Navy

Update: Monjasa Reformer located and safe as pirates kidnap part of crew

The chemical tanker Monjasa Reformer, which went missing for days after getting boarded by pirates on Saturday, March 25, some 140 nautical miles West of Port Pointe-Noire, DR Congo, has been located.

Monjasa Reformer; Image credit French Navy

Based on an update from the British-French naval maritime response center Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG), the vessel is safe and the incident is ‘complete’.

EOS Risk Group said that a distress call was received at 19:37 UTC on March 30 from the missing tanker Monjasa Reformer, putting the vessel 90nm south of Bonny, Nigeria.

“Whilst there remains uncertainty surrounding the incident, vessels are advised to increase alert state and maintain visual and radar lookout,” EOS Risk group said.

Several members of the crew are reportedly taken hostage by the pirates, according to Danish maritime fuel provider Monjasa, the owner of the vessel. Monjasa Reformer had 16 crew members on board when the incident occurred. Initial reports said that the crew managed to retreat to the citadel at the time of the boarding.

According to the French Navy, six crew members have been kidnapped by the pirates. The navy managed to locate the vessel Monjasa Reformer after a six-day search in the Gulf of Guinea.

Specifically, the French Navy offshore patrol vessel Premier L’Her, engaged in Operation Corymbe, conducted searches for the ship in the northeast of the Gulf of Guinea, with the support of the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) in Monrovia, as well as the support of the navies in the region and MDAT-GoG, which maintained contact with the ship’s owner.

The vessel located the Monjass Reformer en route to Nigeria during a flight of its aerial drone and observed the presence of a pirate boat alongside the ship. The navy crew boarded the vessel to provide medical assistance to the remaining sailors on board.

In the late evening, a first medical assessment was carried out. Three minor injuries were treated by the doctor in total, the navy said.

The next morning, the Nigerian patrol vessel NNS Gongola arrived in the area. In agreement with the shipowner, the Premier Maître L’Her escorted the Monjasa Reformer to the port of Lomé.

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Monjasa said that the rescued crew members were all in good health and safely located in a secure environment and receiving proper attention. No further details were provided.

The ship and its cargo are reportedly undamaged.

Monjasa Reformer is utilized in West Africa as part of Monjasa’s marine fuels operations worldwide, transporting marine gas oil, very low sulfur fuel oil, and high sulfur fuel oil products on its vessel.