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A Greek tanker attacked off Benin. Pirates take a ride and get away

(B2) The Minerva Vigo (or Minerva Virgo), a Greek-flagged tanker was attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, 45 nautical miles (83 km) off Benin on Thursday (March 5)

Minerva Virgo tanker (credit: Minerva Marine)

A group of six to eight pirates

A group of six to eight armed people storm the ship, weighing more than 51.000 tons, from the company Minerva Navy who came from the Netherlands in the direction of Lagos (Nigeria). The 21 crew members (including six Greeks) have just enough time to take refuge in the ship's citadel. And the Brest maritime surveillance center (MICA Center (1)) alerted.

A French plane and a Beninese patrol vessel

Two means are set in motion immediately, according to military sources. A Falcon 50 maritime surveillance aircraft of the French Navy takes off from the French air base of Abidjan in the Ivory Coast. Objective: to help locate the attacked ship and assist the forces at sea. At the same time, the operational center of the navy of Cotonou in Benin quickly put the patrol boat Oueme, with a team of marines on board.

NB: faced with the resurgence of attacks in ports or off the coast last year, Benin decided to put marines (2) on board its ships.

No more pirates in the area

But, when the air and sea resources arrived in the area, no pirate was present on the water or on the ship. The Beninese visiting team gets on board, finds that there is no one left. The crew taking refuge in the citadel is authorized to leave.


  1. Le Maritime Information, Cooperation and Awareness, hosted at the maritime prefecture of Brest.
  2. A consequence of the awareness of Africans of the defense of their coasts as indicated by the VAE Jean-Louis Lozier, in our recent interview. Read : At sea, European cooperation works. I see it every day (Admiral Lozier)

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).