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Feb 4, 2013 3:35 AM by ASSOCIATED PRESS

French tanker likely hijacked off Ivory Coast


JOHANNESBURG (AP) - Officials with a piracy watchdog say a French-owned oil tanker that's gone missing off Ivory Coast likely has been hijacked by pirates who have kidnapped the 17 sailors on board.

Noel Choong of the International Maritime Bureau said Monday that the attack likely happened Sunday. He said the ship was flagged in Luxembourg, but declined to give any other details.

Meanwhile, Choong said a sailor had been shot in an attempted hijacking off the coast of Nigeria's largest city, Lagos, on Monday. He said pirates also attacked another tanker last week off Nigeria's southern delta and fired a rocket-propelled grenade at it.

Hijackings of oil tankers have increased drastically in recent months in the Gulf of Guinea. The hijackers target the oil on board, worth millions of dollars.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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