Pirates off Nigerian Coast Abduct Ship Captain and Engineer

Attacks in the waters off the West African coast have increased by a third this year due to lax protections

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Pirates off the coast of Nigeria attacked an oil tanker Monday evening and abducted the ship’s Ukrainian captain as well as a Greek engineer, Greek authorities said Tuesday.

The attack on the MT ALTHEA was orchestrated by a group of ten armed pirates, Reuters reports, who then fled the scene in a speedboat with their two captives.

“We are doing everything we can for their release,” an official from Piraeus-based Medtankers Management, the ship’s operator, said. “They kidnapped the two men but did not touch the cargo (oil) or injure anyone.”

Piracy off the Nigerian coast has increased by a third this year, Reuters points out, as West African countries provide minimal protection to commercial ships, and crew members are attractive ransom targets.