Global seafarers unions demand release of ship crew kidnapped in Nigeria

BBC Caribbean ship

BBC Caribbean

A number of seafarer unions are calling for a fast but reasoned response to the kidnapping of eight crew members from the 2008-built general cargo ship BBC Caribbean in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and its member unions ver.di, the Seafarers’ Union of Russia (SUR) and Marine Transport Workers’ Trade Union of Ukraine (MTWTU) have urged relevant authorities to secure the release of seven Russian and a Ukrainian seafarer, taken by pirates and believed to be held hostage in Nigeria.

“This is an urgent and dangerous affair for these seafarers, and a deeply worrying time for their families. It requires a speedy response. We understand that the Russian Embassy is involved and if there is anything we can do to assist their diplomatic efforts to release the crew we will be pleased to do so,” David Heindel, ITF seafarers’ section chair, said.

“The ship is owned by Briese Schiffahrts and managed by one of their subsidiaries in St Petersburg, and we call on the company to engage with all parties to ensure the safety and release of the crew members. Again, we are available to assist,” Heindel added.

The seafarers were abducted on February 5, at about 10:00 am local time, from the 2008-built general cargo ship while it was some 120 nautical miles west-southwest of Bonny Island, Briese Schiffahrts earlier said.

At the time of the incident, the 6,229 dwt ship was on its way without cargo from Duala, Cameroon to Tema, Ghana.