NINETEEN members of the crew of the MV Duke, the tanker ship seized by pirate ships in the Gulf of Guinea back in December, have been released by their captors.

But according to a statement issued by the Union Maritime Ltd, and V.Ships Management (India), one crew member, an able seaman, was confirmed to have perished, apparently from illness.

“We are seeking further information from those crew members that have been released and a full investigation will be held into the AB demise,” the statement read.

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“All our sympathies and condolences go out to next of kin, family and friends at this tragic time. The AB’s immediate family have been informed and are being supported.”

The vessel was attacked in the Gulf of Guinea on 15 December. One crew member is understood to have avoided the pirates, the rest being kidnapped.

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