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Pirates suspected to have attacked tanker off Angola

Published on Jan 22, 2014 10:58 PM

ABUJA (REUTERS) - A fuel tanker is suspected to have been hijacked by pirates off the coast of Angola, the ship's owners said on Wednesday, in what would be the most southerly attack to date by pirates off West Africa.

Pirate attacks jumped by a third last year off the coast of West Africa but were mostly confined to the Gulf of Guinea, around Africa's biggest oil producer Nigeria, where most of the hijacking gangs are believed to originate.

The 75,000 deadweight tonne Liberian-flagged fuel tanker MT Kerala lost contact with its Greece-based owner Dynacom on Jan 18. The ship was last seen around seven nautical miles from the Angolan capital Luanda, according to a security source.

"It is suspected that pirates have taken control of the vessel," Dynacom said in a statement, adding it had no confirmation.

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