Pirates have kidnapped 13 seafarers from a Liberian-flagged tanker 210 nautical miles off Bayelsa, according to multiple sources.
Seven of the kidnapped crew members are Russians while six are Ukrainian nationals.
The 11,322 dwt product tanker was boarded by eight armed pirates 210 nautical miles south west Bayelsa and 244 nautical miles south of Cotonou.
The Russian Embassy in Nigeria confirmed on Monday that crew members were abducted from the ship named “Curacao Trader” last Friday, but did not provide further details.
Athens-based Alison Management Corp, which manages the tanker, also confirmed the incident.
“Thirteen out of its 19 Ukrainian and Russian crew members have been taken hostage by the pirates. As a result the ship is currently drifting with limited manpower on board,” it said.
Alison Management said a refrigerated carrier owned by the company had been sent to assist the tanker, adding that “no effort shall be spared” to secure the crew’s release.
Commenting on the incident, Dryad Global, said, “The location of this incident is the furthest offshore an act of piracy has been recorded within the Gulf of Guinea. Despite the presence of speedboats, it remains highly likely that the perpetrators are being supported by a larger mother vessel, allowing them to sustain deep offshore operations beyond state counter piracy efforts.”
Last week the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) warned of a surge of kidnappings by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea in the first half 2020, with attacks gathering pace in the second quarter. In the first half the year 49 crew were kidnapped for ransom in the Gulf of Guinea and held captive on land for up to six weeks.