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Pirates Hijack Tanker With 24 Crew Off Gabon

Pirates have hijacked an oil product tanker with 24 crew members off the coast of Gabon.

The ship's owner, Turkey-based Geden Lines, said pirates boarded the ship on Sunday near Port Gentil, Gabon.

The crew members are reported to be from India. The company said it is taking all possible steps to secure their safe return.

Piracy off the western coast of Africa has surged this year, with many attacks targeting ships hauling cargoes of fuel or oil.

This latest attack took place more than 350 kilometers south of previous attacks, raising fears that West African pirates are extending their reach.

Ships in the region are generally soft targets compared to ships traveling near Somalia, where international navies are on patrol and many ships carry armed guards.

The International Maritime Bureau has recorded only nine piracy incidents off Somalia this year, compared to 22 off Nigeria.