Russian Embassy in Nigeria and Bourbon, the French shipping company operating the vessel, reported on Wednesday that the BBC Caribbean ship came under a pirate attack in the territorial waters of Nigeria. Seven Russians and one Ukrainian were abducted from the ship. The Russian embassy has asked the Nigerian authorities for assistance.
Another nine crew members were safe and had reached the Nigerian port of Onne, in the oil-rich Niger Delta, said the spokeswoman for Bourbon, which supplies vessels to the offshore oil industry. The seven were abducted on Monday.
The attack by pirates occured in the Gulf of Guinea 45 nautical miles south-west off Brass, Nigeria. The incident happened near Pennington Oil Terminal at Nigerian Delta, when the cargo ship was approached by a motor skiff with armed men on board, who opened fire. The guards on board of the general cargo ship BBC Caribbean returned fire.
Pirate attacks are on the rise in the Gulf of Guinea, which is second only to the waters around Somalia for piracy. Usually boats are attacked in order to steal their cargo, after which the crew is normally freed, although abducting is also a major criminal enterprise in the waters around the delta, the heart of Africa’s biggest energy industry.
Many of the criminal gangs in pirate networks are offshoots from militant groups that used to operate in the delta before they agreed an amnesty in 2009.
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