News / Africa

Pirates Demand $1.3 Million for Foreign Hostages

TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
Nigerian authorities say a search is underway for pirates demanding a $1.3 million ransom for six foreigners kidnapped from an oil vessel Sunday.

A police spokesman in Bayelsa state said Wednesday that one of the suspected kidnappers called authorities to demand the payment to release the crew members.  He said three of the abducted crew members are from Ukraine, two from India and one from Russia.

The foreigners were taken hostage after pirates attacked their ship off the coast of Nigeria.  The vessel is operated by Century Group, a Nigerian-based oil servicing company.

In an interview with VOA, International Maritime Bureau (IMB) Director Pottengal Mukundan said weak enforcement of maritime laws has contributed to an increase in piracy off Nigeria's coast and across the Gulf of Guinea region.  

"Nigeria has in the past year-and-a-half caught a few gangs and they are in the process of going through their trials at the moment," said Mukundan. "But, a lot more needs to be done and these kinds of crimes which started in Nigeria have spilled over the border into Benin, Togo and lately as far away as the Ivory Coast."  

The IMB says incidents off Nigeria's coast rose from 10 in 2011 to 27 last year.

Earlier this month, gunmen fired on a chemical tanker in Lagos.  A crew member was killed in that incident.

Mukundan says the IMB, which runs a piracy reporting center, is seeing a mixture of attacks along Africa's West Coast.

"You have the armed thefts for the ships," said Mukundan. "You also have the cases where product tankers are hijacked by these gangs in order to steal a small part of the cargo, around 2 - 4,000 tons of product oils from the ship.  And then, the ship and the crew are normally released within 7 to 10 days."  

Mukundan says the IMB has recorded 10 piracy attacks along Africa's west coast so far this year.    

He says a total of 44 crew members have been taken hostage aboard vessels. He says an additional 11 were kidnapped and held at other locations.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Francis from: Enugu
February 22, 2013 8:35 AM
It is argued that illegal oil bunkering not only undermines security and governance in Nigeria, but also feeds into the wave of maritime afflictions that threaten regional stability and development in the GG. Its transnational nature - origin, transit route, and destination - presupposes that efforts to combat the illicit transaction must as a matter of necessity cover the three spectrums to be very effective..... http://reference.sabinet.co.za/document/EJC130232

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid