Twelve seafarers manning the FWN Rapide general cargo vessel were taken by pirates while the ship was preparing to enter Port Harcourt habours on April 21, Dutch company ForestWave, managers of the vessel, confirmed.
FWN Rapide has meanwhile been moved to a safe position by two of the remaining seafarers, who are reported to be safe and unhurt.
“ForestWave would like to stress its main priority is to establish contact with the missing seafarers and secure their earliest and secure return.
The company’s emergency response team is working around the clock and is liaising with the local and international authorities. ForestWave together with its local organizations are in close contact with the families of the valued seafarers to support them in these difficult times,” the company said.
FWN Rapide is a 2005-built vessel flying the Dutch flag and was on its way from Takoradi, Ghana to Port Harourt, Nigeria went it came under attack.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has reported a rise in armed attacks against ships in the Western Africa since the beginning of this year. There have been 22 incidents recorded in Nigeria alone, of 66 reported incidents in the first quarter of this year.
Of the 11 vessels fired upon worldwide, eight were off Nigeria, including a 300,000 dwt VLCC tanker more than 40 nautical miles off Brass.
According to International Chamber of Commerce's International Maritime Bureau (IMB), there have been 66 incidents reported through the first quarter of 2018, including 22 off the coast of Nigeria
The attacks are up from 43 incidents during the same period last year and 37 in the first quarter of 2016.
Of the 66 piracy occurrences, 39 have been boarding, while four have been hijackings.
The rest have been attempted attacks, including 11 ships -- eight off Nigeria -- being fired upon.
In all of the attacks, 100 crew were taken hostage and 14 were taken from their vessels as a result the 66 incidents, IMB states.