Pirates have kidnapped eight crew members of the Cameroon-flagged cargo ship, STEVIA, 28 nautical miles off the coast of Nigeria.
While the Nigerian authorities have not made any comment yet on the kidnap, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on Saturday confirmed that six of its nationals were among the abducted crew members.
Ukraine’s Foreign ministry spokesman, Oleg Nikolenko, said the pirates had attacked the vessel in the Gulf of Guinea, Africa’s most economically active and oil-rich region.
He said, “Yes, we are aware of this situation. As a result of a pirate attack on the ship off the coast of Nigeria on December 16, eight crew members were captured, including six Ukrainian citizens.”
He said the owner of the STEVIA cargo ship is an Albanian company, so both the Ukrainian embassy in Nigeria and Albania were taking appropriate response measures.
The daughter of one of the abducted sailors, on Saturday, also said that there were six Ukrainians aboard the vessel.
Pirate activity in the region has increased in recent years, prompting Nigeria, Ghana, and other surrounding countries to set up a naval coordination operation to patrol the gulf.