African pirates attacked an oil tanker Tuesday in the oil-rich waters off the continent's west coast, Agence France Presse reported.

The pirates reportedly killed a Ukranian crewman, believed to be the chief engineer of the 750-foot vessel, AFP reported.

Four other crewmen aboard the Monfrovia-flagged Cancale Star were injured in the attack that occurred just off the Benin coast, AFP reported.

"The death that we have is the chief mechanic, who is responsible for the engines. He is Ukrainian. The captain, a Lithuanian, is not hurt," said Commander Maxime Ahoyo, according to AFP.

Ahoyo was aboard a Beninese navy boat that assisted the tanker.

A doctor who boarded the Cancale Star said one of the crewmen suffered from gunshot wounds. The doctor also said the tanker's first officer was seriously injured, AFP reported.

The attack occurred during the night. One pirate, a Nigerian from Badagry, 40 miles west of Lagos, was captured by the crew and then handed over to police for questioning.

It was unclear whether the other pirates were able to escape or were still on the tanker.

Most western African piracy attacks occur while ships are at anchor or close to the shore, unlike Somali pirates off eastern Africa, who have netted millions of dollars in ransoms in exchange for the release of ships captured hundreds of miles from the coast

Click here to read more.

The Agence France Presse contributed to this report.