Pirates hit Malaysian vessel off Nigeria
… Kidnap Indonesian, 2 other seafarers
Pirates attacked an oil industry supply vessel in Nigerian waters this week, kidnapping three crew.
Security sources, according to agency reports, confirmed yesterday the incident, the latest attack off the coast of Africa’s biggest crude producer.
Security sources said that the Captain, Chief Engineer and Second Engineer were abducted on Monday when gunmen boarded the Malaysia-flagged Armada Tuah 22 around 50 nautical miles (90 kilometres) off the coast of the Brass region in the Niger Delta.
The sources explained that one of the sailors kidnapped was Indonesian.
The vessel is a tugboat contracted to supply an offshore oil platform.
A fishing vessel, Orange 7, was attacked last Saturday in a similar position and one of the crew was killed, according to sources.
There has been a surge in piracy attacks off the coast of Africa’s most populous nation this year, with gangs showing signs of moving further afield and using more violent tactics.
Oil majors Exxon Mobil and Shell said last month that security was a major factor in making Nigeria one of the most expensive oil-producing countries to operate in.
Oil and shipping companies have to hire crisis management teams, pay higher insurance premiums and face the prospect of ransom payments, as well as brace themselves for damage to their reputations.
The prime suspects for most attacks are Nigerian oil gangs, who already carry out industrial-scale theft of crude oil, known asbunkering, in the restive onshore Niger Delta swamplands.
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