The Turkish cargo ship; Paksoy-1
Barely two weeks after the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported a drop in pirate attacks in Nigeria in the first half of 2019, daredevil pirates have attacked a Turkish cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria.
According to a statement from the ship operator; Kadioglu Maritime, 10 sailors, all Turkish nationals, were taken hostage for ransom.
Also, Turkey’s foreign ministry said the sailors were seized on Saturday evening. It added that, after the pirates left the ship, it was taken to Ghana’s Tema port, and Ghanaian and Nigerian authorities are working on returning the captured sailors.
According the operators, the ship named "Paksoy-1" was sailing without freight from Cameroon's port city of Douala to Abidjan in Ivory Coast when the pirates boarded the ship in the Gulf of Guinea.
The 8,900 deadweight-ton (Dwt) Turkish-flagged ship was attacked 230 kilometers (124 miles) around the town of Brass and communication and navigation equipment were damaged, the statement said.
"No injuries or loss of lives occurred according to initial information. Our efforts continue for the safe and sound release of all of our personnel," it added.
According to Turkish maritime-related news website denizhaber.net, the 114-meter-long and 17-meter-wide ship was brought to the territorial waters of neighboring Ghana.
A ship from the Ghanaian Navy is sailing close to the abducted ship, the report said, citing Ghanaian officials who were trying to communicate with the pirates for the release of the personnel including the captain and first mate
Turkey's Foreign Ministry and National Intelligence Agency were aware of the incident, Ömer Çelik, spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), told reporters during a press conference.
Last week, the International Maritime Bureau described the Gulf of Guinea as the most dangerous area in the world for piracy. It said 73% of all sea kidnappings and 92% of hostage-takings took place in the Gulf of Guinea.
Armed pirates kidnapped 27 crew members in the first half of 2019, and of nine vessels fired upon worldwide, eight were off the coast of Nigeria, Africa's top oil producer.
Nigeria reported 14 pirate attacks in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 22 in the same period in 2018.