Nigerian coast is tailing Somalia in terms of the risk of pirate attacks.
Pirates have attacked and looted an SP Brussels tanker off the coast of Nigeria, kidnapping five crew members, the ship’s operating company, Medallion Marine, said on Wednesday
Medallion Marine, a ship management organization, said the vessel was attacked on Monday by “heavily armed pirates” about 40 miles (65 kilometres) off the coast of Nigeria’s oil rich Niger Delta region.
“The pirates ransacked the vessel for personal belongings and took five crew members with them on their departure,” said spokesman Martin Baxendale.
The company did not immediately give the identities and nationalities of the kidnapped crewmen. Medallion Marine is India based, with its head office in Mumbai.
“Everything possible is being done to ensure the safe return of those crew members taken,” it further said.
The hijack of oil tankers around the Nigerian coastline has surged recently. Between August and October, three hijackings occurred along Nigeria’s coastline: two in August, one in September.
In all incidents, the oil was siphoned into other containers before the vessels and crew were released.
SP Brussels was “looted” according to Medallion Marine.
Piracy offshore of Nigeria and other countries in West Africa’s oil-rich Gulf of Guinea is on the increase, and the region is tailing the sea way off Somalia in terms of the risk of pirate attacks, which drives up shipping insurance costs.
The International Maritime Bureau, a branch of the International Chamber of Commerce funded by ship owners, has categorised the Gulf of Guinea, which includes the waters off Benin, Nigeria and Togo as an emerging piracy hub.
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