Pirates kidnap crew members from Swiss ship off Nigeria

Pirates have kidnapped 12 crew members from a Swiss merchant vessel in Nigerian waters, the ship’s operator has said in a statement.

Massoel Shipping, the operator of MV Glarus, said on Saturday that 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 12 of the 19 crew members away.

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.

The statement did not give the nationalities of the crew members.

Switzerland’s foreign ministry said it had learned from the company that none of the crew members were Swiss nationals.

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 last few years in the southern Niger Delta region, the source of most of the crude oil which is the mainstay of West Africa’s biggest economy.

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