Nine sailors who were waiting in the harbour of the port of Cotonou in Benin have been abducted by suspected pirates, port authorities said.
"The Autonomous Port of Cotonou regrets to inform you that Saturday morning, November 2, 2019, an act of piracy took place in the harbour area," authorities said in a statement on Sunday.
They said it involved a ship called Bonita but that they did not know the identity of the owner nor what flag it sailed under.
The ship was attacked "about nine miles off the entrance to the port and eight crew members plus the ship's captain were abducted," the port authorities said.
Other crew members, who are safe and sound, are currently being interviewed as an investigation is under way.
The Gulf of Guinea, which extends from Cameroon to Liberia, has become one of the most dangerous maritime regions in the world.
The attacks on ships and the abductions of crew for ransom have become more frequent, especially along the Nigerian coast where the pirates come from.
The pirates sometimes divert ships for several days, long enough to plunder the cargo and demand huge ransoms before freeing the crew.
Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, where Nigeria and Angola, the two main oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa, are located has seriously disrupted international maritime transport essential to the continent at a cost of billions of dollars.
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