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