YAOUNDE (Reuters) - A Chinese fishing vessel with seven fishermen aboard was hijacked off the coast of Cameroon in the latest attack in the waters of West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea, the Chinese embassy in Cameroon said on Saturday.
“We are working together with the Cameroon authorities on ways and means of seeking their release,” an embassy official said of Friday’s hijack in international waters off the Bakassi peninsula.
The official said responsibility for the kidnapping had been claimed by the “Africa Marine Commando,” a group not known to have been involved any recent attacks on local shipping.
Chinese crews are a common sight in the rich fishing waters of West Africa.
While West African pirates have not attracted the same amount of international attention as their Somali counterparts, maritime analysts say they pose an increasing risk in a region with weak surveillance and a growing number of oil finds.
The last major attack in the Gulf of Guinea was in November, when pirates attacked an oil tanker off Benin, killing a Ukrainian sailor and stealing the contents of the ship’s safe.
Unlike Somali pirates, seaborne gangs in West Africa aim to seize cargoes rather than take hostages for ransom.
Reporting by Tansa Musa; Writing by Mark John; Editing by Louise Ireland