State Officials: Hijackers Stole $8 million of Fuel from Tanker

Tuesday February 25, 2014

The oil tanker MT Kerala has been returned to Angola authorities after disappearing from off the Luanda coast in January and then being intercepted by the Nigerian Navy, Reuters reports.

A board member at the state oil firm Sonangol said hijackers stole $8 million in diesel from the ship.

The vessel was under a time charter for Sonangol when it vanished.

After the incident, the Kerala's owner, Dynacom Tankers Management of Greece, said pirates hijacked the ship and stole the cargo, while the Angolan government maintained the crew had faked the attack.

"The MT Kerala was found in Nigerian waters, but as the coast there did not offer security it was taken to Ghanaian waters and then recovered with help from both countries' authorities and brought to Luanda," said Sonangol board member Anabela Fonseca.

"It is now with Angola government authorities ... We (Sonangol) managed to recover around 78 percent of the cargo, but they managed to transfer about 12,000 tonnes of diesel, so that is what we lost," she added.

Fonseca did not comment on who stole the diesel.

Angola Navy spokesman Augusto Lourenco said in January that the attack was "all faked."

"There have been no acts of piracy in Angolan waters," he said at the time.