Tanker missing off West Africa coast is found after pirate attack

ACCRA, June 12 Thu Jun 12, 2014 2:50am EDT

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ACCRA, June 12 (Reuters) - An oil tanker missing for a week off the coast of West Africa was attacked by pirates who stole its cargo, the company that managed the ship said on Thursday after speaking with its captain.

The Liberia-flagged MT Fair Artemis had last made contact with its manager, Fairdeal Group SA, on June 4 when it was off the coast of Ghana.

"The ship was boarded by a number of pirates who have stolen the cargo and other items on the vessel," Fairdeal fleet director John Gray said in a statement, adding that all on board were safe. The statement gave no further details.

Pirate attacks jumped by a third off the coast of West Africa last year, pushing up insurance costs for shipping firms operating in a key commodities export hub.

West African piracy has its roots in an uprising in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta that has given rise to criminal networks. Gangs target cargo, which is often fuel, and rob or kidnap crew members. (Reporting by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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