Athens - The four crew members of a chemical tanker that were kidnapped off Nigeria on March 5 have been released and are reported to be in good health, the Hellenic Coast Guard said. The undisclosed owner of the chemical tanker, which has also remained unnamed, told the coast guard that the crew, including three Greek nationals and one Filipino, were freed on March 28th. The Panamanian-flagged tanker was hijacked by a group of armed pirates while the ship was underway some 32 miles South West of Bonny Island, Nigeria. The ship had 22 crew members and one passenger on board when the armed group boarded the tanker. The remaining crew members retreated to the citadel, escaping pirates, who left the ship shortly after boarding, taking four crew members with them.
Once the pirates abandoned the vessel, the remaining crew members managed to sail the tanker to a safe port. The terms of the crew’s release have not been disclosed, but it is highly likely that the ship owner had to pay ransom to free his crew. Kidnappings in Nigerian waters and most recently off Philippines have become ever more frequent as pirates resort to taking hostages for ransom as a funding method.
(Source: World Maritime News)