Pirates kidnapped 12 crew members from a Swiss merchant vessel on Saturday in Nigerian waters, the ship’s operator said in a statement. The Swiss foreign affairs ministry says none of the crew members is from Switzerland.
Massoel Shipping, the Geneva-based operator of MV Glarus, said the vessel carrying wheat was travelling between the southwestern commercial capital Lagos and southern Niger Delta oil hub Port Harcourt when it was boarded by pirates, who took away 12 of the 19 crew members.
It said the attack happened around 45 nautical miles southwest of Bonny Island.
“The company is working with the authorities and specialists to secure the speedy and safe release of those being held,” Massoel Shipping said in its statement.
Nigeria’s navy and maritime police said they were unaware of the kidnapping and would investigate.
Kidnapping for ransom is a common problem in parts of Nigeria. A number of foreigners have been kidnapped in the past few years in the southern Niger Delta region, source of most of the crude oil which is the mainstay of west Africa’s biggest economy.