Almost two weeks after Niger Delta pirates kidnapped 12 out of 19 crew members of a Swiss cargo vessel named MV Glarus, the sailors are yet to regain their freedom.
The bulk carrier was hijacked off Bonny Island, Rivers State.
Spokesman of the Nigerian Navy, Commodore Ayo Olugbodi, told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY on Thursday that rescue operation was still underway with appreciable progress made towards the release of the sailors.
He did not mention whether the kidnappers have made any contact for ransom to release the abducted sailors.
“The search and rescue is still going on. We don’t have them yet but we are making progress. We do not want to hamper our rescue effort by giving any further information because lives are involved,” he said.
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) last week said it had commenced search and rescue operations for the abducted sailors on board the MV Glarus, which is owned by Allison Shipping.
Director-General of the agency, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, said that NIMASA was working closely with the Forward Operation Base (FOB) and the Falcon Eye of the Nigerian Navy along with other relevant security agencies to ensure that the crew members were found and released unconditionally.
The ship owner had raised alarm penultimate week that its bulk carrier with 19 crew came under attack penultimate Saturday morning as it transported bulk wheat from Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos to the southern oil hub of Port Harcourt.
During the attack, around 45 nautical miles southwest of Bonny Island, “the pirate gang boarded the Glarus by means of long ladders and cut the razor wire on deck to gain access to the vessel and eventually the bridge,” the company said.