Tanker carrying thousands of tons of gas and 22 crew members missing off coast of Africa

There is a persistent threat of hijacking in the area, a recent report said.

ByABC News
February 4, 2018, 4:01 PM
Marine Express tanker.
Marine Express tanker.
(c) Jurij S/MarineTraffic.com

— -- An oil tanker carrying 22 crew members and thousands of tons of gas was reported missing off the coast of West Africa, a shipping company and India's foreign ministry said.

The merchant vessel Marine Express vanished off the coast of Benin in the Gulf of Guinea with 22 Indian nationals on board, India's foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, said today.

The ship is owned by the shipping company Anglo-Eastern, a spokesman for India's foreign ministry, Raveesh Kumar, said Saturday.

Hong Kong-based Anglo-Eastern said in a statement Friday that the ship “was last contacted” on Thursday. The company said the ship had been at the Cotonou anchorage in Benin.

The company said there were 22 crew members aboard and the ship was carrying thousands of tons of gasoline.

A spokesperson for Anglo-Eastern told ABC News on Sunday that there had been no update to the ship's status since the company's earlier statement.

Swaraj said India was coordinating with naval authorities in Nigeria and Benin in the search for the ship.

There is a persistent threat of hijacking in the Gulf of Guinea, the International Maritime Bureau said in a report last month.

ABC News' Vivek Raj contributed reporting from New Delhi.