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PRETORIA, October 10 (Itar-Tass) — Sea pirates have released the Greek tanker Orpheus after holding it captive for three days, the shipmaster reported on Tuesday.
On Monday, the Greek shipping company Grace Management S.A. had reported that it had had no contact with the Bahamas-flagged tanker since Saturday. The tanker had been off the West African coast with a cargo of 32,000 tonnes of petrol and had been on its way to Abidjan, the largest port of the West African country of Cote d'Ivoire.The crew consists of 22 Filipinos and two Greeks.
The shipmaster confirmed that the vessel had been seized by pirates. He gave no other information, the SAPA news agency reports.
Unlike Somali pirates, those in the Gulf of Guinea limit themselves to the stealing of petroleum products which they sell on the local black market. They do not demand a ransom for a ship and the crew.
The International Maritime Bureau repeatedly issued warnings that the Gulf of Guinea had turned into a new area of sea piracy. It urged all ships to be on the lookout, and called on the authorities to step up patrolling there.
Forty-four seizures of ships in the Gulf of Guines have been reported this year.