A Greek-owned tanker with a crew of 24 people and more than 32,000 metric tonnes of gasoline on board went missing early on Monday off Ivory Coast and could be sailing towards Nigeria, its operators said.
The Bahamas-flagged Orfeas disappeared in an area where pirates have been active, but its operators did not mention them.
The ship was to have discharged its cargo at the former Ivory Coast capital of Abidjan but sailed south without orders before dawn, Grace Management SA said in a statement.
“The managers have been trying to contact Orfeas continuously, unfortunately without result,” the Piraeus-based company said.
“They have immediately informed all relevant authorities and have requested assistance from the authorities in neighbouring countries, as well as from other third party sources, in order to locate the vessel as soon as possible,” it said.
The ship’s last known position indicates it might be sailing towards the Nigerian port of Lagos.
The crew includes two Greeks and 22 Filipinos.
Piracy has long been a problem off Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer and most populous nation, but it has now spread to neighbouring nations.
Pirates usually target fuel cargo, loading it onto other ships to sell on the lucrative black market.