Pirates kidnap 12 crew from Swiss ship off Nigeria

Pirates kidnap 12 crew from Swiss ship off Nigeria

A Swiss-operated ship has been attacked off the coast of Nigeria, Switzerland's foreign ministry said, amid media reports that 12 crew members had been kidnapped by a gang of pirates.

The crew members were abducted on September 22 from the vessel that was traveling between the cities of Lagos and Port Harcourt.

The attack happened around 45 nautical miles south west of Bonny Island.

The Geneva-based shipping company said "all the appropriate authorities have been notified" and specialists have been called in to "secure the speedy and safe release of those being held".

Seven other crew members were on board the Massoel Shipping vessel Glarus at the time.

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Massoel spokesman Patrick Adamson told AFP it was the second largest number of people taken from a ship in the oil delta southeast of Nigeria this year.

Kidnapping for ransom is a big problem in Nigeria, with the Niger Delta region a particular target as it is the source of most of the country's crude oil.

The company added that, after destroying much of the ship's communications equipment, the gang departed with 12 of the crew members.

The Swiss foreign ministry said Sunday that none of those kidnapped were from Switzerland, and did not disclose the nationalities.

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