The Norwegian flagged bulk carrier ‘MV BONITA’, owned by Ugland Shipping AS was boarded by pirates, while she was at anchor off Cotonou in Benin, early Saturday morning. Nine crewmembers, including the captain were taken off the vessel.
The European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) jointly denounce the attack on ‘MV BONITA’ and are monitoring the situation closely.
Our absolute priority is the return of the nine crewmembers back to safety. The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, member of both ICS and ECSA, is in close contact with the shipping company and the relevant authorities.
“We condemn unreservedly the boarding of the MV Bonita and the subsequent taking of nine crewmembers. These actions are in violation of international regulations, which protect ships and their crews as they go about their legitimate business. Seafarers across the world have the right to operate free from the fear of kidnap or capture,” said Guy Platten, ICS Secretary General.
“It is unacceptable that the pirates managed to capture nine crew members of the MV BONITA. Seafarers and vessels must be allowed to sail in complete safety and security,” added Martin Dorsman, ECSA Secretary General.
Piracy and armed robbery incidents in West African waters are extremely alarming for the shipping industry. ECSA and the ICS call upon all actors to work on increasing the security in the area.