The oil-tanker Marine Express has gone missing off of the coast of Benin, West Africa. Reports state that the last contact made with the vessel was on 01st February 2018.
At this stage, it has not been confirmed whether the ship was hijacked. What is known is that the vessel last made contact whilst at Cotonou Anchorage, on 01st February 2018. This is extremely close to the location that the MT Barrett was reported to be before she was hijacked last month.
The vessel, Marine Express, was laden with 13,500 tonnes (15,120 tons) of oil, and has a crew of 22 on board. The vessel is managed by an Indian based ship management company who along with Indian authorities have enlisted the aid of the Benin and Nigerian navies to find the Marine Express.
India’s External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has stated;
“Merchant Ship Marine Express with 22 Indian nationals is missing off the Coast of Benin in the Gulf of Guinea. We are making all out efforts in coordination with Nigerian and Benin naval authorities to trace the missing ship. We have set up a Helpline no.(+234)9070343860.”
This is the second vessel to go missing in as many months, off of the West coast of Africa. In January MT Barrett, a UK owned tanker, was hijacked with 22 crew members on board and in this incident they were held for 6 days before being safely released.