By Kunle Sanni
Ten Turkish sailors on a cargo ship have been kidnapped for ransom by armed men off the coast of Nigeria.
The shipping company, Kadioglu Denizcilik, on Tuesday said in a statement that the vessel was attacked when the pirates boarded the ship on its way from Cameroon to the Ivory Coast in the Gulf of Guinea, PressTv reported.
“Vessel Paksoy-1 was sailing without freight from Cameroon’s port city of Douala to Abidjan in Ivory Coast when the pirates boarded the ship in the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean,” the statement said.
“No injuries or loss of lives occurred according to initial information. Our efforts continue for the safe and sound release of all of our personnel.”
The company’s operation manager, Numan Paksoy, said out of the 18 people that boarded the 8,900 deadweight-ton ships, only 10 among them were kidnapped.
He said the assailants picked the 10 after threatening to kill all the sailors after the crew members hid in a safe room.
“We contacted those who were not kidnapped and found out that all crew members hid when the assailants boarded the ship, Mr Paksoy said.
“All of them had to come out of hiding when the assailants found some and threatened to kill them if the others did not come out. The assailants then picked 10 sailors at random among all the crew members and let others go,” he added.
The International Maritime Bureau says the Gulf of Guinea is the most dangerous sea in the world for piracy.
According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), 73 per cent of all sea kidnappings and 92 per cent of hostage-takings occur in the Gulf of Guinea off Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin, and Cameroon.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry in a statement said it has contacted both the Nigerian and Ghanaian authorities to secure the release of the kidnapped Turkish citizens.