Cancale Star: Pirates got the cash

The tanker's Latvian captain, Jaroslavs Semenovics, said around six or seven pirates had approached the tanker in a speed boat.

"They came on deck, pointed a pistol to the head of one of the sailors, marched him to the cabin," Semenovics told AFP.

"They asked me to open the safe and they collected all the cash," he added. He did not say how much was stolen.

The 230m Cancale Star was carrying 89,000 cubic metres of crude from Nigeria's Niger Delta, the captain said.

The tanker's owners Chemikalien Seetransport said in a statement issued from Germany that the vessel's chief officer, or second in command, "has tragically lost his life in a piracy attack off the coast of Benin in the early hours of November 24".

"It is not the chief engineer but the chief officer of the vessel," said Chemikalien's spokesman Cor Radings, earlier identified the Ukrainian officer as the chief engineer.


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