A shipping company said on Tuesday that a German container vessel’s crew have been kidnapped in Nigerian waters. According to the Philippine Department of Labor and Ukrainian foreign ministry, four of those abducted are Filipino, and one is a Ukrainian national.
Speaking on condition of being anonymous because of the sensitivity of the rescue operations, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters that one Hungarian national was taken. An official from Ukraine’s foreign ministry also claimed a Ukrainian citizen was among those kidnapped.
A spokesman for shipping company Peter Doehle Schiffahrts KG said: “The vessel was attacked by pirates on early Saturday morning when it was approaching one of the ports of Nigeria.”
“Six of the crew were taken off the ship and they are now held by kidnappers in Nigeria,” the spokesman added. However, he declined to say where those abducted were from.
There was no official contact with the kidnappers at the time of the statement.
The vessel has reportedly moved away from Nigerian waters, while the 12 remaining crew of the vessel was safe, the spokesman said.
The involved countries’ top priority is to try and establish contact with the kidnappers as soon as possible and try to have a quick and safe release of the seafarers.
Kidnapping for ransom is a common problem in parts of Nigeria; more than 200 foreigners have been kidnapped since 2006, though most were released unharmed–and let us pray for that.