One of two Pakistani engineers seized from a vessel by gunmen on Feb. 22 in southeastern Nigeria was rescued from the sea, with his colleague still missing, Petrostar Nigeria Ltd., their employer, said.
Qasim Muhammed and Kaleem Ul Haq Usmani were in the vessel MT Leo, on its way from Lagos to the southeastern city of Calabar, when it was boarded by gunmen, Elie Elie, a spokesman for the Lagos-based company, said today by phone. Both men were taken away in a boat which later sunk and Muhammed was “picked up by another vessel,” he said.
Muhammed, now receiving treatment at a hospital in Lagos, reported seeing Usmani floating on his life jacket, raising hopes he may have been rescued by another vessel, Elie said. “We will keep looking and searching for Usmani.”
Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, has seen a renewed surge of violence in the coastal oil region by armed groups targeting shipping and the oil industry. Attacks had declined after thousands of militants fighting for a greater share of the region’s oil wealth for its inhabitants, accepted a government amnesty in 2009 and disarmed.
Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Total SA and Eni SpA run joint ventures with state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. that pump more than 90 percent of the country’s crude.