COTONOU (AFP) - Pirates seized an Italian tanker with a crew of 23 off Benin in the Gulf of Guinea Sunday, the Benin navy said. Navy commander Maxime Ahoyo told AFP that after receiving distress signals from the vessel, the navy sent two patrol boats in pursuit of the pirates. "We are closely monitoring the situation," he added. Earlier, the Italian news agency ANSA first reported the capture of the Rbd Anema e Core and its crew comprising 20 Filipino seamen, two Italians and a Romanian captain. It said three pirates managed to board the ship, which was carrying fuel, 23 nautical miles south of Cotonou, the economic capital of Benin.