The ship owners and India’s Ministry of External Affairs confirmed on 4 February that an oil tanker last seen at anchorage off the Beninese port of Cotonou had been reported missing.
The Panama-registered MT Marine Express carried 22 Indian crew and 13,500 tonnes of gasoline (petrol). A spokesperson for Hong Kong-based Anglo-Eastern, which manages the tanker, said it was last seen in the early hours of 1 February, after which contact had been lost. A search has since been under way, with the assistance of authorities from Benin’s neighbour Nigeria. The incident appears almost a repeat of the hijacking three weeks earlier of the Marshall Islands-flagged MT Barrett , which lost communications at Cotonou anchorage on 10 January.
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