Seven Filipino sea­men kid­napped off Nige­ria

Panay News - - METRO BACOLOD -

SEVEN crew mem­bers from the Philip­pines on board a Swiss mer­chant ves­sel were kid­napped by pi­rates off the coast of Nige­ria, the West African na­tion’s mar­itime agency had said.

They were among the 12 ab­ducted on Satur­day from the ves­sel that was trav­el­ing be­tween the cities of La­gos and Port Har­court.

The ship’s op­er­a­tor said the at­tack hap­pened around 45 nau­ti­cal miles south­west of Bonny Is­land.

Other kid­napped crew mem­bers were from Slove­nia, Ukraine, Ro­ma­nia, Croa­tia, and Bos­nia, the Nige­rian mar­itime agency said Sun­day.

Kid­nap­ping for ran­som is a com­mon prob­lem in parts of Nige­ria.

A num­ber of for­eign­ers have been kid­napped in the last few years in the south­ern Niger Delta re­gion, source of most of the oil that is the main­stay of the West African na­tion’s econ­omy.

Seven of those ab­ducted were from the Philip­pines and one from each of the other five coun­tries, said Sun­day Umoren of the Nige­rian Mar­itime Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

“They are still miss­ing,” said Umoren, who heads mar­itime safety at NIMASA.

The num­ber of sea­far­ers taken hostage in the Gulf of Guineau – the re­gion where the at­tack took place – rose from 52 in 2016 to 75 last year, said Jake Long­worth, se­nior an­a­lyst at EOS Risk Group, in a re­port pub­lished in July.

He said that al­though the num­ber of peo­ple kid­napped was sim­i­lar in the two years, there was a trend for pi­rates to take more hostages in each at­tack.

Long worth said 35 sea­far­ers were kid­napped for ran­som in the re­gion in the first half of 2018. ( Reuters)

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