NIGERIAN PIRACY: Hostage count mounts

Nigerian pirates now have 10 foreign seafarers in captivity after details of the latest West African attack emerged on Wednesday, according to agency reports.
A total of six men – a Russian, three Ukrainians and two Indians – are now known to have been kidnapped from the 2,150-gross tonnage anchor-handler Armada Tuah 101 (built 2007) following Monday’s raid, security sources told Reuters.
Previous reports said that only that all foreign crew on the Bumi Armada ship had been taken, while Nigerian colleagues were allowed to continue their voyage on the ship.
This brings to 10 the number of overseas nationals held hostage by gunmen in the region, following two other kidnappings this month.

Meanwhile, a supply ship hijacked off Nigeria has been used by pirates to kidnap crew from two others ships, security experts believe.
The 499–gross tonnage Armada Tugas 1 (built 2003) was seized by gunmen off Bayelsa in the Niger Delta on February 7, 2013, according to Bergen Risk Solutions (BRS).
Within 12 hours, she was thought to have been involved in a raid on Carisbrooke Shipping’s 8,100-deadweightt cargoship Esther C (built 2008), from which three crew were taken, and then the 4,200–gross tonnage anchor-handler Walvis 7 (built 1982), from which the Master and Chief Engineer were kidnapped three days later.
Seventeen men reportedly took part in the hijacking of Armada Tugas 1, which is listed as owned by Bumi Armada.

But BRS has received information that Armada Tugas 1 had been bought by Nigerian interests in recent days.
The ship was eventually released on 12 or 13 February 12 or 13, 2013.
Communication equipment was destroyed but none of the all-Nigerian crew was reported kidnapped. AIS data shows that the vessel was close to both attacked ships at the time.
The fate and location of the kidnap victims are not known.
BRS said: “These, and other attacks, illustrate that criminals in the Niger Delta have retained their intent and operational capability for staging attacks offshore.”

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