French-owned tanker seized off Ivory Coast freed


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A French-owned ship seized by pirates off Ivory Coast on Sunday has been freed, the vessel's owner has said.

Sea Tankers said two of the 17 sailors on board the M/T Gascogne were receiving medical attention after being injured during the hijacking.

The diesel tanker was seized off Ivory Coast's port city of Abidjan with a crew that included Africans and Asians.

Pirate attacks off the West African coast have increased in recent years, either for ransom or fuel theft.

Last month, armed hijackers freed a tanker seized off Ivory Coast after escaping with fuel worth $5m (£3m), said its Nigerian-based owner, Brila Energy.

Sea Tankers did not say how the M/T Gascogne was freed or what the motive of the hijackers was.

But it said it wanted to thank naval forces and state authorities for helping to secure the vessel's release.

"Sea Tankers are very pleased all 17 seafarers are reported safe. However, sadly, two seafarers were injured during the incident but are [being] taken care off," it said, in a statement.

On Sunday, Ivorian officials said the crew included seven sailors from Togo, four from Benin, two from Ivory Coast, two from Senegal and one each from China and South Korea, AP news agency reports.

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