The Nigerian navy reports that a cargo ship on Monday was attacked by pirates off the Nigerian coast, kidnapping Six Turkish crew members. The abducted crew members include the ship’s mechanical engineer, electrician, navigator and three captains, all six Turkish. They were abducted some 90 miles from the coast at around 1:30 a.m on Monday.
It is however unclear how many crew members were aboard the M/T Puli, owned by Kaptanogul Shipping, which was carrying chemicals, when it was attacked. Company officials said the pirates are yet to contact them and that both the kidnapped crew and those who remained on the ship, were “in good health”.
Pirates have continued to pose a threat to shipping companies at the Gulf of Guinea, which is a significant source of oil, cocoa and metals for world markets. They target oil tankers, usually seeking hostages for ransom and fuel to sell. Security analysts say the pirates are militant groups from the Niger Delta, such as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND.
Last month, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea agreed to establish combined patrols to bolster security in the Gulf.
While incidents of piracy off the coast of Somalia in eastern Africa, which was once the global hub for high-seas piracy, have significantly fallen in the past three years as patrols by international warships and armed guards aboard commercial vessels have significantly reduced the problem, attacks in the Gulf of Guinea on the other hand have increased.
However, the Nigerian Navy in a statement signed by its Director of Information, Commodore Christian Ezekobe, in Abuja, on Tuesday, April 12, said it had averted a ship hijack and destroyed more illegal refineries in the Niger Delta.
The statement reports that the Nigerian Navy Ship, OKPABANA, had successfully averted a hijack attack on MT NORDIC FREEDOM around Agbami oil field, off all caps Brass.
According to the statement, Illegal crude oil thieves and vandals operating in the Niger Delta have suffered heavy losses as the Nigerian Navy intensifies its operations against their activities.
The Navy authorities have appealed to law abiding sea farers not to entertain any fear and enjoined them to promptly alert the Nigerian Navy Patrol Teams of any suspicious activities around them.