GABON // In the early hours of December 22nd, a bulk-carrier was approached by heavily armed men onboard a speedboat in Libreville/Owendo area. Initial approach was unsuccessful but later that same night the speedboat approached another vessel, the Panama-flagged landing craft TROPIC DAWN who had casted off earlier that night. The events are still unclear, but it appears that there was a confrontation onboard the vessel and the Master of the landing craft, a Gabonese national, was killed during the attempted hijacking/kidnapping.
The armed group then moved towards a group of fishing trawlers standing by for their fishing permits some 2.5NM SW of Owendo. Two fishing trawlers were successfully boarded, and four Chinese nationals are now reported to be missing, the Master and Chief Mate of each vessel.
Around 0300 LT the authorities were informed about the events and a military vessel was sent in the area to investigate. According to local media, various forces part of the Merchant Navy, National Navy and National Sea Council are working jointly to research the surrounding waters.
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