Pirates Abduct Indian Sailors

Pirates Abduct Indian Sailors

Gunmen stormed a tanker ship off the coast of Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta, ransacking the vessel and kidnapping five Indian sailors in the latest attack targeting foreign workers in the volatile region, a shipping company said on Wednesday.

The attack targeted the SP Brussels tanker as it sat about 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the coast of Nigeria’s Niger Delta, Medallion Marine said in a statement. The gunmen stole personal belongings on board the ship in the attack on Monday and kidnapped the sailors, the company said.

Those remaining onboard later sailed the vessel safely to port in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, the company said.

The Navy has ordered the arrest of the pirates who abducted the Indians.

Director, Navy Information, Commodore Kabiru Aliu said the vessel was sighted at anchorage about four nautical miles off the Lagos Fairway Buoy.

He said: “The Nigerian Navy has directed its operational base in Lagos, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT to investigate the activities of the ship and if under attack, arrest the pirates and rescue the crew and vessel.”

“Medallion Marine have been working in close cooperation with the authorities, and everything possible is being done to ensure the safe return of those crewmembers taken from the vessel,” the statement read. “Nigerian naval vessels are assisting with this process.”

The attack on the tanker came the same day gunmen abducted four South Koreans and a Nigerian working for Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. at a construction site in the Brass area of Bayelsa state. A South Korean Foreign Ministry official has said the victims were preparing the site for workers who would construct factories there.

Typically, foreign companies operating in Nigeria’s Niger Delta pay cash ransoms to free their employees after negotiating down kidnappers’ demands. Foreign hostages can fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece.

Foreign oil companies have pumped oil out of the Niger Delta, a region of mangroves and swamps the size of Portugal, for more than 50 years.

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