The pair was kidnapped from the 3,583-dwt hopper dredger Amerigo Vespucci (built 1985) at the port of Douala, owner Jan de Nul wrote in a statement.
The two crew members taken are a Croatian engineer and a Filipino deckhand, Pierre Pison of the Belgian owner told TradeWinds. The total crew consisted of 20 comprising six Belgians, three Dutch, the kidnapped Croat and the remainder Filipinos. There are no injuries to the other crew.
Nothing has been heard from the kidnapped men or their captors since the raid by the armed gang on Sunday evening. The motive for the attack remains unknown.
The Luxembourg-flagged vessel was dredging in the port where it has been deepening the access channel since last June without any similar incidents, Pison said. It has now returned safely to harbour.
The incident is remarkably similar to two others which happened in quick succession at Douala anchorrage in May this year. Two Russian crew members of the Greek 7,148-dwt cargoship North Spirit (built 1989) were taken from the ship while it was docked at the Cameroonian port in mid May.
It subsequently emerged that within a matter of minutes the armed gang had boarded Limarko’s 180,700-cbf reefer Argo (built 1985) in the same port and took the Lithuanian master hostage.
All three were smuggled across the border in to Nigeria and only released in early July.
Although Sunday’s incident is not an act of piracy as it took place within Cameroon’s territorial waters, Jan de Nul is no stranger to incidents of piracy off the coast of Africa. On 18 April last year its 1,760-dwt stone carrier Pompei (built 1988) was hijacked by Somali pirates off the Seychelles. The Belgium-flagged ship and its crew of 10 were held captive until 27 June that year