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Pirates attack ship and hold crew members hostage off of West Africa

Pirates in the Gulf of Guinea attacked a Danish marine fuel ship and took some of the 16-member crew hostage before abandoning the vessel.

Pirates in the Gulf of Guinea attacked a Danish-owned ship and took some of the 16-member crew hostage after abandoning the vessel on a small island off of West Africa, reports said Friday.

Pirates boarded the Monjasa Reformer just off the Republic of the Congo Saturday before the French navy found it five days later roughly 500 miles to the north near the small island nation of Sao Tomé and Principe.

On Friday, a spokesman for the Danish company that owns the Liberia-flagged tanker, Thorstein Andreasen, said that "the pirates had abandoned the vessel and brought a part of the crew members with them." 

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It is unclear how many crew members have been taken, how they were transported or where they are now, though some reports have suggested three of the crew were captured. 

The crew members reportedly bunkered down in a citadel – a safe area on board built to resist pirates attempting to gain entry – after the ship was boarded, though some of the crew members were still somehow taken hostage. 

The crew’s nationalities also have yet to be announced. 

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In a statement, Andreasen said the remaining crew not captured "are all in good health and safely located in a secure environment and receiving proper attention following these dreadful events."

The Gulf of Guinea is listed as the world’s most dangerous location for piracy, and in May the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the attacks.

The Monjasa Reformer is just one of 30 in a commercial fleet used to transport marine fuels across the globe from West Africa, Northwest Europe, the Arabian Gulf and Panama, according to the company’s website. 

Andreasen said that no damage to the vessel or its cargo had been reported. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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