Pirates free 15 Turkish sailors kidnapped off Nigeria

Pirates free 15 Turkish sailors kidnapped off Nigeria


Fifteen Turkish sailors kidnapped by pirates last month in the Gulf of Guinea have been freed in Nigeria and will head home, two weeks after the attackers made contact to discuss ransom.

One sailor, a citizen of Azerbaijan, was killed in the raid on January 23 which crew, family members and security sources described as a sophisticated and well-orchestrated attack. Those kidnapped were from Turkey.

Spokesman of Istanbul-based Boden Shipping, Levent Karsan, said in a television interview that the sailors were all in good health in Nigeria and would travel to Turkey in the coming days.

“This wasn’t a political kidnapping. This kind of kidnapping happens in that region unfortunately and is completely aimed at getting ransom,” Karsan said.

He said talks to free the sailors had been handled by a team based in Hamburg, Germany.

SHIPS & PORTS reported that the Liberian-flagged container ship, the Mozart, was headed to Cape Town from Lagos when it was attacked 160 km off Sao Tome island.

The pirates made first contact with Boden on January 28 to discuss ransom.

Karsan did not share details of the talks but said he hoped the incident would prompt officials at the United Nations and International Maritime Organisation to take action against piracy in the region.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu later said that a British company had handled negotiations, but gave no details. He also said that been sent to countries in the region to discuss preventing such incidents.

“We must learn a lesson from this and work together to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” Cavusoglu said.