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Tanker with 22 Indian sailors goes missing off Africa, hijack feared

By Deepika
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    A tanker vessel with 22 Indians, has been lost at sea for over 48 hours off the coast of the West African country, Benin.

    Image for representation only

    It is suspected the vessel MT Marine Express, carrying 13,500 tonnes of gasoline, may have been hijacked for ransom or attacked by pirates for the gas.

    The vessel, MT Marine Express, is the second ship to have gone missing in as many months in this region.

    The cargo is valued at Rs 52 crore, according to a report in Mid-day.

    The last anyone heard from MT Marine Express was at 6.30 pm on January 31, when it was anchored at Cotonou, Benin. The next day, at 2.36 am, satellite tracking showed the ship missing from anchorage in the Gulf of Guinea, reports Mid-day.

    India has sought the help of the navies of Nigeria and Benin to find the ship. "They are conducting search operations now," he said. Without getting in touch with the crew, the official said it was not possible to make a guess on what happened to the vessel.

    The directorate general of shipping (DGS) and the Ministry of Shipping have also contacted their counterparts in Nigeria and Benin to help locate the missing vessel.

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