Pirates have attacked and looted a tanker off the coast of Nigeria, taking five Indian crew members hostage, the ship's operating company said on Wednesday, adding that the gunmen stole personal belongings.
Piracy and kidnapping in the oil-producing Delta and offshore are common, and West Africa's oil-rich Gulf of Guinea is second only to the waters off Somalia for the risk of pirate attacks, which drives up shipping insurance costs.
"On Monday the vessel (SP Brussels) was boarded by heavily armed pirates whist approximately 40 miles 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."
Following the attack on Monday, the remaining crew sailed the ship to Lagos, operator Medallion Marine said.
"Medallion Marine have been working in close co-operation with the authorities, and everything possible is being done to ensure the safe return of those crew members taken from the vessel," said the company in a statement. "Nigerian naval vessels are assisting with this process."