Turkish sailors kidnapped by pirates off Nigeria’s coast

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(CNN)Ten Turkish sailors were abducted from their ship by armed men off the coast of Nigeria on Monday, the co-partner of the shipping company, Ahmet Paksoy, told CNN on Tuesday.

The ship, managed by the company Kadioglu Denizcilik, was raided by “pirates” who disrupted the vessel’s electric system and abducted ten of the more senior crew members, including the first captain, Paksoy said.

The remaining 8 members of the crew managed to bring the ship to harbor in Ghana, he said. Once the ship was in Ghanaian waters, Ghana’s military escorted the ship, Paksoy, said.

Paksoy said the attackers have not yet contacted the company for possible ransom.

“The pirates have not contacted us yet. We are waiting for them to contact us. When we look at the previous cases it may take some time, it seems like,” he said.

The company and the crew members who were not abducted are in contact with the Turkish Foreign Ministry, the Turkish National Intelligence Organization and Interpol, Paksoy said.

A report released this month from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a non-profit devoted to fighting maritime crime, has called the Gulf of Guinea a “world piracy hotspot,” saying that the “seas around West Africa remain the world’s most dangerous for piracy.”

73% of all kidnappings at sea and 92% of hostage-takings took place in the Gulf of Guinea — off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon — from January to June this year, the report said.

Armed pirates in those waters kidnapped 27 crew members in the first half of 2019, compared with 25 in the same period in 2018, it said. Two chemical tankers were also hijacked, as well as a tug that was then used in another attack.

Nine vessels were fire upon worldwide, eight of which were off the coast of Nigeria — Africa’s top oil producer — according to the report.

The IMB said that it has welcomed a “marked decrease” in Gulf of Guinea attacks since April compared to the previous year, however, saying that the Nigerian navy has done well in actively responding to reported incidents by dispatching patrol boats.

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