A commercial vessel sails past a small fishing boat in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo used for illustrative purposes only. Reuters
Armed pirates attacked a Turkish cargo ship off the West African coast, kidnapping 15 sailors and killing one of them, officials said Sunday as Turkey sought to recover the captured crew.
The Liberian-flagged M/V Mozart was sailing from Lagos, Nigeria, to Cape Town in South Africa when it was attacked Saturday morning 100 nautical miles (185 kilometers) northwest of the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe.
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Turkey’s Maritime Directorate said the crew initially locked themselves in a safe area but the pirates forced entry after six hours. During the struggle, one crew member aboard died. It identified the victim as engineer Farman Ismayilov of Azerbaijan, the only non-Turkish crew member.
After kidnapping most of the crew, the pirates left the ship in the Gulf of Guinea with three sailors aboard, state-run Anadolu news agency said. According to reports, the pirates disabled most of the ship’s systems, leaving only the navigation system for the remaining crew to find their way to port. The vessel is currently heading to Gabon’s Port-Gentil.
The Gulf of Guinea, off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon, is the most dangerous sea in the world for piracy, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
Maritime security consultancy Dryad Global described the attack as "an exceptional incident for both its severity and distance from shore.” Last year, boardings in the waters off West Africa rose to 18 from 13 in 2019, the London-based firm added.Associated Press
The last 61 ships, out of 422 ships that were queuing when the vessel was dislodged on Monday, passed through the vital trade artery on Saturday, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said.
The three survivors said other crew members may have been swept away by waves before the first helicopter arrived, according to a government statement.
Turkey accused the United States on Tuesday of taking only “cosmetic steps” toward the creation of a so-called “safe zone” in northeast Syria and renewed Ankara’s threat of unilateral military intervention to form a buffer area along its border.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed expressed his thanks to Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad for his congratulations and the sincere fraternal feelings he showed, wishing the brotherly State of Qatar and its people further progress and development.
Sheikh Sultan’s statement reads, “The Ruler of Sharjah congratulates Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on his appointment as Vice President."
Sheikh Mohammed said, “I congratulate my brothers Sheikh Hazaa, Sheikh Tahnoun, Sheikh Mansour and Sheikh Khaled Bin Mohamed for the confidence in the President of the State. In you and your brothers, the leaders of the new generation, the march continues.”