A product tanker and its 22 crew hijacked off West Africa last week have all been released, says shipowner Union Maritime.

“We can confirm that the Barrett has been released after a Gulf of Guinea piracy incident lasting six days. All crew are safe,” the UK shipowner said.

“We are extremely grateful to the many parties that assisted in achieving the successful resolution of this incident.

“The crew are safely back in Lagos, Nigeria and were met by senior representatives from Union Maritime and the technical managers.”

The 11,999-dwt Barrett (built 2005) was at anchor off Benin, West Africa when communications were lost on the morning of Wednesday the 10th of January.

Union Maritime said its emergency response plan was immediately activated and regional maritime authorities and other vessels in the area were alerted.

“The exact nature of the incident only became clear late on 12 January when those holding the vessel made contact with the company,” Union Maritime said.

“A resolution process began, which ultimately led to the release of the vessel and all crew on board on 16 January.”

Union Maritime did not disclose if a ransom was paid, but said the rescue effort involved authorities in Benin, Togo, Nigeria and India.

The shipowner says it regularly operates from ports in this region and has a rigorous safety and security protocol with crews repeatedly drilled in all safety and emergency procedures.

To read more from TradeWinds click here