Six foreign sailors kidnapped off the coast of Nigeria earlier this month have been released unharmed.
Kingsley Omire, the police chief in Nigeria's Bayelsa state, says the six were freed overnight Monday without any ransom being paid.
The one Russian, two Indian and three Ukrainian sailors were taken hostage February 17 after armed men stormed their ship. The pirates demanded a ransom of $1.3 million for the sailors' release.
The International Maritime Bureau says that weak enforcement of maritime laws has contributed to an increase in piracy off Nigeria's coast and across the Gulf of Guinea region.
The IMB says incidents off Nigeria's coast rose from 10 in 2011 to 27 last year.