MANILA, Philippines ‚Äì The owners and managers of a ship attacked by pirates off the Nigerian coast on February 4 have assured the family of a Filipino seaman killed in the failed hijack attempt of support and guaranteed the safety of eight other Filipinos who suffered no harm in the incident.
In a statement e-mailed to news media recently, ship owner Pyxis Maritime Corp. and manager International Tanker Management Holding Ltd (ITM) said they were working with relevant authorities in investigating the failed hijacking of the chemical tanker Pyxis Delta as it off-loaded cargo at the Lagos anchorage.
‚ÄúPyxis Maritime, ITM and their crewing agency, in deep shock from this tragic event, are in touch with [the slain Filipino seaman’s] family for support and comfort. All sympathy and condolences are extended to them at this tragic time,‚Äù read the statement released on February 7.
The firms said that armed pirates attempted to seize the ship, which is registered in the Marshall Islands, at the Lagos anchorage at 12:40 a.m. (local time) on Feb. 4, firing shots at the ship‚Äôs armed guards.
The ship had been anchored there since Janaury 12 to discharge cargo, contrary to earlier reports that it was already sailing off the Nigerian coast at the time of the attack.
The Lagos anchorage and its surrounding waters are known to be infested with pirates, with several incidents recorded in recent years.
‚ÄúThe tanker was boarded by armed pirates and gunfire was exchanged. The security team on board immediately activated anti-piracy measures of resistance and the pirates escaped,‚Äù the statement said.
A ‚Äúmuch-valued and able‚Äù Filipino crewman, whose name it withheld, suffered a gunshot wound and passed away in a hospital.
Eight other Filipino crewmen who survived the attack remain on board the ship, which was still anchored in Lagos.
‚ÄúAll surviving crew members‚Äô families have been contacted and have been re-assured that their loved ones are safe and well on board with increased security team presence,‚Äù read the statement.
‚ÄúWe are currently conducting an investigation and we are cooperating fully with all relevant authorities regarding this incident,‚Äù it said.