By Wisdom Patrick and Dotun Akano (With Agency reports)
Suspected pirates have attacked and looted a tanker off the coast of Nigeria,taking five crew members hostage,the
ship’s operating company said. The firm, Medallion Marine, did not give the nationalities of those kidnapped but
maritime security experts AKE said in a note to its clients that they were all
Piracy and kidnapping in Nigeria’s oil-
producing Delta and offshore are
common, and the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea is second only to the waters off Somalia for the risk of pirate attacks. The phenomenon drives up shipping
“On Monday the vessel (SP Brussels) was
boarded by heavily armed pirates whilst
approximately 40 miles (65 km) off the
Niger Delta,” Medallion Marine said in a
statement. “The pirates ransacked the vessel for personal belongings and took five crew members with them on their departure.” Nigerian Navy officials were not available for comment.
According to a maritime tracking
website, the SP Brussels is a 7,600-tonne oil and chemical tanker. Nigeria is a busy oil shipping route. It is among the world’s top 10 crude oil exporters and imports around 80 per cent
of the fuel products needed for its 160
million people due to a lack of domestic
AKE said on Wednesday the risk of
maritime kidnapping is currently
heightened off the Niger Delta. Gunmen had similarly kidnapped four foreigners, believed to be South Koreans and two Nigerians working for Korea’s Hyundai Heavy onshore the Niger Delta on
Monday. Also one week ago, the mother of Finance Minister,Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,was snatched from her home in Delta State.
Bayelsa State Police Command spokesman, Fidelis Odunna, told our
correspondent in a telephone interview
that the Indian sailors were kidnapped in the Brass area of Bayelsa State, off the coast of Nigeria by unknown gunmen.
He stated that the Indians were abducted in their ship and taken into the creek by a group of gunmen who invaded their ship on a speedboat.Police authority in the state also said contact was yet to be established with the kidnappers.
“We are yet to establish contact with
them, but we are trying all we can. You
must also understand our peculiar
circumstances, the terrain and all that,
but we are doing our best to make sure
that the victims are safe while plan to secure their freedom is on.”