Hijacked tanker returned minus $8m of diesel

An oil tanker hijacked for a week off Angola in January has been returned to the country's authorities minus $8 million of diesel.

The Liberian-flagged MT Kerala was under a time charter contract for Sonangol when it vanished off the coast of the capital Luanda on Jan. 18 before being intercepted by the Nigerian navy a week later.

The incident raised concerns that piracy is spreading south from the Gulf of Guinea, near Africa's biggest oil producer Nigeria, where most hijacking gangs originate.

Angola is the continent's second-biggest crude operator and almost all of its production is offshore.

The incident sparked a row between the Angolan government, which accused the crew of disabling the ship's communications to fake a pirate attack, and the vessel's Greek owners, who said pirates hijacked the vessel and stole a large quantity of cargo.

"The MT Kerala was found in Nigerian waters, but as the coast there did not offer security it was taken to Ghanaian waters and then recovered with help from both countries' authorities and brought to Luanda," Sonangol board member Anabela Fonseca told a news conference.

"It is now with Angola government authorities ... We (Sonangol) managed to recover around 78 percent of the cargo, but they managed to transfer about 12,000 tonnes of diesel, so that is what we lost," she added, without commenting on who was responsible for the theft.

Mateus Neto, also a member of Sonangol's board, told the news conference that the diesel the company lost was worth around $8 million. 

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
McIver & Veitch Ltd DunedinMotorcycle Sales & Repair
A J Grant Engineering LtdDunedinHome & Garden Maintenance
Baylis (W.A) The Chemist LimitedDunedinPharmacies
Heating & Air Conditioning Services LtdDunedinAir Conditioning & Heating