YAOUNDE, Feb. 4 Xinhua | — A Singapore-flagged oil tanker with 26 crew members on board?including two Chinese nationals?has been seized by military in Cameroon since Feb. 1, consular and security sources told Xinhua on Monday.
According to the Chinese embassy in Cameroon, the Singaporean vessel, after discharge operations in Cameroon’s western Limbe port, was about to leave when Cameroon military took control of it on the evening of Feb. 1.
There were 26 crew members on board, including the captain from Ukraine and two Chinese nationals. They were forbidden to leave the ship and the ship was forbidden to leave the port. There have been no reports of physical injuries of the crew members.
A Cameroon military official who preferred not to be named confirmed the information to Xinhua, and said the ship was seized over “a commercial disagreement.”
“The ship is still in our keeping. They were operating where they were not supposed to operate and we seized it,” the official said on Monday.
The seized ship is managed by Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping.
The company, in a communique published on Sunday, accused DSC Marine, a Cameroon charterer, of using “illegitimate means to seize the vessel for the purpose of holding its owners to ransom.” DSC Marine has not responded for the moment.