Kidnapped Navios tanker crew members released after pirate ordeal

Nave Constellation seamen are free and in good spirits, owner reports.

All 19 crew members from a VLCC abducted off Nigeria earlier this month have been set free by their kidnappers and will soon return to their families.

“All those taken and now released are in good spirits and well, given the circumstances of their time in captivity,” said Navios Maritime Acquisition, the owner of the 297,000-dwt Nave Constellation (built 2010), which was attacked on 3 December south of Bonny Island.

Eighteen Indians and one Turkish national were held captive.

New York-listed Navios did not say anything in its statement about the circumstances or the background of the release, other than to express gratitude to the “government agencies, authorities, maritime institutions and specialists” that did “so much” in securing it.

The attack on the Nave Constellation was the sixth maritime security incident and the fourth kidnapping to occur in 2019 within 56 km of the southeastern boundary of the Nigerian exclusive economic zone.

Another attack took place nearby on 15 December, when 20 Indian seamen were abducted off Togo from the 19,100-dwt tanker Duke (built 2003).

Some releases have been achieved: nine crewmen were freed this month after being taken from a JJ Ugland bulker earlier in November, while three crew were freed after being abducted from the 94,000-dwt Elka Aristotle (built 2003) tanker around the same time.

The fourth kidnapped crewman from the Elka Aristotle, however, died from an illness before being released.

Source: TradeWinds