Seventeen Filipinos were among 24 sailors on board a Greek tanker hijacked off Ghana in the Gulf of Guinea last week, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Tuesday.
The fate of the 24 crew and the MT Fair Artemis, which was transporting oil, is still unknown, the tanker’s owner said.
In a text message, Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the Liberia-flagged MT Fair Artemis carrying the Filipinos and the other crew lost contact with its owner on Wednesday, June 4.
Losing contact with a ship, according to the International Maritime Bureau, is a sign of a “possible hijack” of a vessel at sea.
“We support the steps being taken by the owner of the MT Fair Artemis to ensure the safety of those on board the vessel,” Jose said.
Reports said 19 percent of attacks worldwide in 2012 happened in West Africa.
Majority of these attacks were mounted by Nigerian pirates, who have accounted for 31 of the 51 attacks since 2008.