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Bunker barge crew kidnapped off Nigeria

Pirates kidnapped the master and two other crew members of the small Togo-flag bunker barge Stelios K while she was off Nigeria in November.

Two other crew members were left on board and sailed the ship to in Lagos.

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At time of going to press, negotiations for the release of the men were understood to be ongoing. The Stelios K, with a small crew and low freeboard, was particularly vulnerable to attack.

 

Taking of hostages by pirates operating in the Gulf of Guinea is the main reason ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) figures show a rise in piracy and armed robbery on the world’s seas in the first nine months of 2020.

There was a 40% increase in the number of kidnappings reported in the Gulf of Guinea, compared with the same period in 2019. Of the 85 seafarers kidnapped from their vessels and held for ransom, 80 were taken in the Gulf of Guinea in 14 attacks reported off Nigeria, Benin, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Ghana. IMB warned that pirates armed with guns and knives are abducting bigger groups of seafarers at further distances off the West African coast.

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