Pirates off Nigeria’s coast kidnapped 15 sailors from a Turkish container ship in the Gulf of Guinea on Saturday in a brazen and violent attack that was farther from shore than usual.
One sailor was killed in the raid, an Azerbaijani citizen, while those kidnapped are from Turkey, according to the respective governments and a crew list obtained by Reuters.
Three sailors remain on the Mozart, which was approaching Gabon’s Port Gentil on Sunday and expected to dock, according to Refinitiv Eikon data. The Liberian-flagged vessel was headed to Cape Town from Lagos when it was attacked 160 kilometres (100 miles) off Sao Tome island on Saturday, maritime reports showed.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s office said on Sunday he was orchestrating officials in the “rescue of kidnapped ship personnel”.
Erdogan spoke twice by phone with the ship’s fourth captain, Furkan Yaren, who remained aboard after the attack, his office said.
State-run Anadolu agency cited Yaren as saying he had been “cruising blindly” toward Gabon with damage to the ship’s controls and only the radar working. The pirates beat crew members, and left him with an injured leg while another still aboard the ship had shrapnel wounds, he said.
Turkish media cited Istanbul-based ship owner Boden company as saying the owners and operators of the vessel were abducted at gunpoint. Boden was not immediately available.
Pirates in the area kidnapped over 130 sailors in 22 incidents last year, accounting for all but five of those seized worldwide according to an International Maritime Bureau report.
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