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Turkish ship hijacked in Gulf of Guinea

Turkey's hydrocarbon research ship 'Yavuz' , escorted by Turkish navy, is seen offshores of the Mediterranean Sea [Turkish Defence Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency]
Turkey's hydrocarbon research ship is seen offshores of the Mediterranean Sea, 17 September 2020 [Turkish Defence Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency]

A Turkish cargo ship with 19 crew on board has been hijacked in the Gulf of Guinea, Anadolu has reported. At least one crew member was killed in the attack on the MV Mozart, and 15 were kidnapped by pirates.

The crew member who was killed was an Azerbaijani citizen. Turkey's Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavuscoglu said that when the ship docks his body will be returned to his homeland.

The Mozart is now anchored in Port Gentil in Gabon, said Turkish Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu on Twitter yesterday. A spokesman for the Gabon president said that the country's navy is assisting the vessel because the pirates disabled the electronics on board before they fled with their hostages. Three of the crew were left on the Mozart.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken twice by phone with the ship's senior officer Furkan Yaren, who remained on board after the attack. "The pirates beat crew members, and left me with an injured leg, while another still aboard the ship had shrapnel wounds," Yaren explained.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, pirate attacks on ships worldwide jumped 20 per cent last year, driven up by a record number of hijackings off West Africa.

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