Pirates off Nigeria’s coast attack Swiss ship

Nigerian militants brandish their weapons in a show of strength for reporters in the Niger Delta on February 24, 2006. By Dave Clark (AFP/File)

12 of a Swiss-owned bulk carrier’s 19 crew members have been kidnapped by Nigerian sea pirates.

Geneva-based Massoel Shipping company says that the MV Glarus bulk carrier has been attacked by pirates off Nigeria’s coast and 12 of its 19 crew members have been kidnapped, AP reported.

The carrier was attacked over the weekend as it sailed from Lagos to Port Harcourt with a load of wheat. The pirates boarded the ship using long ladders and cut razor wire on the deck to make their way to the bridge.

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) told Reuters yesterday that seven Filipino crew members have been kidnapped by the pirates.

The Filipinos were aboard the Swiss-owned cargo ship which pirates attacked on Saturday. Reuters reported that aside from the Filipinos, other crew members kidnapped included one citizen each from Slovenia, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia, and Bosnia.

READ MORE: Poverty, pirates, protest: Locals seize Nigeria oil hub

Piracy, of the sea variety rather than the internet variety, is an ongoing problem in Nigeria, with kidnappings of crew members of ships fairly commonplace.

One hundred and twenty-one incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships were reported in the first nine months of 2017, a report issued by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) said.

A Nigerian chief told AFP in August last year that pirates prey not only on large ships but also on small communities.

“We are at the mercy of sea pirates who lay siege on the waterways as they rob our people,” said Dabiri.

The pirates, undeterred by at least six military checkpoints that dot the route from Abonnema to Belema, were reported to be operating with impunity at the time.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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