Pirates kidnap four men aboard Greek flagged tanker in West Africa



Pirates have attacked and captured four crew members from Greek-flagged tanker "Elka Aristotelis" early Monday at Lome Togo, western Africa.

While docked, the gunmen attacked four men that were part of the tanker's crew, a Greek, two from the Philippines and a man from Georgia.

The incident was confirmed by the ship's parent company, European Product Carriers Ltd, with the company issuing a statement that the remaining crew and the vessel were safe, adding it could not comment in detail but said: "We are doing everything we can to ensure their prompt and safe release."

Shipping Minister Yiannis Plakiotakis was informed immediately and ordered the authorities to closely monitor developments concerning the tanker, in cooperation with Greece’s Foreign Ministry and the shipping company handling the vessel.

The incidents mark an escalation of pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, which already is considered a high-risk area by the International Maritime Bureau.

Monday's attack came two days after nine crew members were abducted from a Norwegian-flagged ship that was anchored off the coast of neighbouring Benin.