A vessel owned by Norwegian shipping firm J.J. Ugland was boarded by pirates while at anchor off the coast of Benin on Saturday, and nine crew members were kidnapped, the company said in a statement on Sunday.

“Our bulk vessel MV Bonita was boarded by pirates very early Saturday morning off Cotonou/Benin while she was at anchor.

9 crew members were taken off the vessel while she was waiting for berth to discharge inbound cargo, gypsum.

Remaining crew notified local authorities and Bonita arrived alongside in Cotonou later same day.

The Ugland Emergency Response Team are handling this situation as per contingency plans, and they are in contact with relevant authorities.  

The families of the crewmembers have been contacted and will be kept informed by Ugland.

In the interest of the wellbeing of the crewmembers Ugland will not make any further comments regarding the situation.”