Pirates kidnap 5 from ship off Nigerian coast
29 April 2013, 15:21
Abuja - Pirates have kidnapped five crew members from a
cargo ship off the Nigerian coast, a piracy watchdog and a security source said on Monday,
part of a growing trend of attacks that are pushing up maritime insurance costs
in the Gulf of Guinea.
The Antigua and Barbuda-flagged MV City of Xiamen container
ship was attacked late on April 25 off the coast of oil-producing Bayelsa
state, a security source said.
The crew were mostly Sri Lankans but included one member
from Russia and another from Myanmar, the source said.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said 14 heavily
armed pirates attacked the container ship, breached its citadel - a strong room
designed to protect the crew from attack. The pirates took five crew captive
before escaping with cash taken from the ship and the crew, the IMB said in a
Pirates in a speed boat off Nigeria chased and fired upon
another container ship on April 24 but the vessel increased speed and escaped,
the IMB said.
West Africa is an important source of oil, cocoa and metals
for world markets, but international navies are not engaged in counter-piracy
missions at present. Many vessels are forced to anchor off Nigeria with little
protection, making them a soft target for criminals.
Naval patrols and the presence of armed guards aboard
merchant vessels have helped reduce piracy off Somalia on Africa's eastern