Pirates rob tanker off West African coast

AP News
Posted: Oct 03, 2011 11:29 AM
Pirates rob tanker off West African coast

A piracy watchdog group says armed pirates have raided a chemical tanker off the coast of Benin in West Africa.

The International Maritime Bureau issued a statement Monday saying pirates attacked the tanker Sunday off the coast of Benin's capital, Cotonou.

The bureau says that pirates boarded the tanker with automatic weapons, prompting the crew to hunker down in an on-board safe room until Monday morning. It says the pirates escaped with cash from the tanker, but no one was hurt or held hostage.

Violent pirate attacks in West Africa's Gulf of Guinea have risen in recent months, leading an umbrella group of London insurers to list Nigeria, neighboring Benin and nearby waters in the same risk category as Somalia.

Nigerian and Beninese naval authorities mounted a first joint patrol last week in a bid to bring the pirate threat under control.