Africa

Tugboat crew kidnapped by pirates off Nigeria

Eight crew members on a tugboat off the coast of Brass, Nigeria have been kidnapped, according to The Maritime Herald.

The vessel was attacked approximately 11 miles south of Brass on April 19 after armed men on a motor skiff boarded the vehicle and took control. They then took eight of the crew members and fled to the Niger Delta.

TWO PIRATES KILLED TRYING TO HIJACK SHIP OFF SOMALIA

The incident was reported to local authorities and the Nigerian navy but by the time two rescue boats arrived on the scene the pirates had already departed with the hostages. One sailor injured in the attack was left behind, and subsequently airlifted by helicopter for medical treatment.

Local authorities are investigating and trying to get in contact with the pirates. The name of the tugboat in question wasn’t released by local authorities or The IMB Piracy Reporting Centre because of attempts to free the kidnapped sailors.

The incident came amid a separate attack in which a group of nine pirates in a skiff approached and fired on a tanker about 60 miles south-southwest of Brass. The crew on the tanker raised the alarm and increased speed and were able to successfully elude the attackers.

The crew and tanker were reported to be safe.

There have been five boardings, four vessels shot at, and two reports of suspicious vessels off of Nigeria so far in 2017, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).