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COTONOU (Reuters) - Pirates attacked an oil tanker off Benin, killing a Ukrainian crew member and stealing the contents of the ship's safe, the head of the West African country's navy said on Tuesday.
The 230-metre Liberian-flagged Cancale Star was carrying 89,000 cubic metres of crude oil from Nigeria when pirates raided it 18 miles off the Benin coast, Commander Maxime Ahoyo told journalists.
"Seven pirates of various nationalities attacked the oil tanker Cancale Star," Ahoyo said. "According to the ship's captain ... a Ukrainian was killed."
"One pirate who said he was Nigerian was captured by the crew and has been taken to Cotonou for questioning," Ahoyo said.
An investigation was in under way into what was taken from the safe, he added.
Pirate attacks on oil tankers and other ships have become increasingly common off the east coast of Africa in the past year, driving up freight costs, but are less frequent in West African waters.
The 24 crew members included Russians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians and Filipinos, Ahoyo said.
(Reporting by Samuel Elijah; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)