By Kathryn Stone 2015-06-08 10:45:59
Panamanian authorities have thwarted an attempted hijacking onboard a cargo vessel bound for scrapping.
Local authorities received a report early morning, June 8 that pirates had boarded the Venezuelan-flagged VFM Alita near the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal, about 80km (50 miles) north of Panama City. The two crew members onboard the ship were held for approximately two hours while the thieves searched the vessel for valuables.
Panama’s National Air-Naval Service (SENAN) dispatched a BPC-4506 coastal patrol boat to investigate the incident. They found five assailants aboard the cargo vessel, which included four adults and one child.
The pirates were brought aboard the patrol boat and transferred to the Christopher Columbus SENAN naval base to be processed by authorities.
The VFM Alita is owned by Venezuela-based Feeder Maritime and has been in-lay up since last year. The 4,250dwt general cargo vessel was headed for scrapping when the incident occurred.