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Nigerian Pirates Extend Reach

By Daily Graphic

A bloody pirate attack off Benin's coast is raising concerns that Nigerian pirates — operating on the opposite side of Africa from Somali pirates — are extending their reach and shows that the waters off West Africa are almost equally dangerous.

Pirates attacked an oil tanker last Tuesday, killing a Ukrainian sailor and wounding at least two crew members on the Liberian-flagged Cancale Star, said Benin's naval chief, Maxime Ahoyo.

A maritime expert said the tanker had 24 crew members, mostly Ukrainian and that some pirates were from neighboring Nigeria. They did not gain control of the ship.

The ship's Hamburg, Germany-based owner, Chemikalien Seetransport, said the crew captured one of the alleged pirates and turned him over to authorities in the port of Cotonou in Benin.

A mix of poverty, politics and easy cash have made Nigeria and Somalia almost equally dangerous for shipping, Cyrus Mody of the London-based International Maritime Bureau told The Associated Press. —AFP

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