The reefer Saronic Breeze was hijacked by pirates in Gulf of Guinea on 70 nautical miles off Cotonou, Benin. The vessel left Cotonou anchorage and headed south, when was approached by fast boat with heavy armed men on board. The crew maneuvered to avoid boarding of the pirates, but armed men open fire against the ship and succeeded to take control. The vessel was hijacked and crew succeeded to activate SSAS, but later the contact and lost and AIS was turned off. The Nigerian navy and local authorities dispatched rescuers and security forces to the scene of the troubled vessel. Meanwhile, the pirates robbed the ship and fled taking three hostages with them.
The other crew was released unharmed. The navy reached the vessel and started tracking the pirates. Unfortunately the traces were lost. There is no information what nationalities were the kidnapped people, but crew on board of reefer Saronic Breeze included 18 Russians and 2 Ukrainians seamen. It is unknown if ship[owner of local authorities were contacted by the pirates for ransom request.
The reefer Saronic Breeze (IMO: 9041540) has overall length of 137.55 m, moulded beam of 18.00 m and maximum draft 6.50 m. The deadweight of the ship is 7,368 DWT and the gross tonnage is 6,399 GRT. The vessel was built in 1991 by Imabari Shipbuilding in Japan. The owner and operator of the reefer Saronic Breeze is Greek company Baltimed Reefer Services.