The Angolan navy denied the hijacking of the Greek oil tanker, Kerala, on January 18, reporting that the owner company had faked the pirate attack.
Greece-based Dynacom, owners of the Liberian-flagged tanker MT Kerala said they had contacted its crew who reported that the pirates had left. “Pirates hijacked the vessel offshore Angola and stole a large quantity of cargo by ship-to-ship transfer. The pirates have now disembarked,” claimed the company.
However, according to Captain Augusto Alfredo, spokesman for the Angolan navy, the crew had turned off the ship’s communications to fake the hijacking.
“It was all faked, there have been no acts of piracy in Angolan waters,” he said.”What happened on January 18, when we lost contact with the ship, was that the crew disabled the communications on purpose.” he added.
Captain Augusto Alfredo didn’t offer any explanation as to what motivated the crew to fake the attack. He only reported that Kerals’s contract with the Angolan state oil firm Sonangol was due to end on February 12.
He also revealed that on Friday, another tanker in Angolan waters had reported a false pirate attack. “The navy and air force went to the location and did not find any signs of an attack. We want to know if this was a diversion tactic and will remain on alert as there may be some forces manoeuvring behind these acts,” he said.