Nigeria is investigating the abduction of five Polish crew members after their vessel was attacked by gunmen in the country’s territorial waters, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency said.
The Cyprus-flagged vessel MV Szafir was attacked on Friday while “approximately seven nautical miles” from the coastal town of Brass, the agency known as NIMASA said in an e-mailed statement late on Saturday. The gunmen took away the captain and four other crew members, all of Polish nationality, according to the statement.
The ship, owned by Voltaire Shipping Co. and run by EuroAfrica Services Nigeria Ltd., was sailing from the Antwerp port in Belgium to Nigeria’s Onne port when it was attacked, NIMASA said. The Nigerian navy and other security agencies are currently searching for the abducted crew, the agency said.
The waters off the coast of West Africa have been identified by the International Maritime Bureau as one of the major piracy hot spots around the world, recording 41 incidents in 2014, with 18 in Nigerian waters and mainly targeting vessels working in the oil industry.