Dare-devil pirates operating across Nigerian waters have attacked Bourbon-owned anchor handling and tug supply vessel (AHTS), and whisked away two of the crew members to an unknown location.
The company which confirmed the attack and kidnapping of the crew members said the incident occurred off Nigerian waters on the 23rd of February 2016.
The two crew members who are yet to regain their freedom as at press time were taken from the Bourbon vessel named Liberty 251, are of Nigerian and Russian nationalities.
The company further confirmed that ten other crew members who escaped the attack were back on board the vessel in Onne port, “safe and sound” and have since resumed their normal duties.
The French offshore vessel supplier said that an emergency cell has immediately been set up. While further details of the attack and crew members abduction remains sketchy as at press time, the company said it had so far not received any demand for ransom.
The attack comes in less than a year when three Bourbon’s crew members of Nigerian nationality were kidnapped when the company’s crew boat, the Surfer 1440, was boarded off the Nigerian coast in April 2015. The crew was released on May 8th, however Bourbon did not reveal the terms of their release.
Checks have revealed that in recent times, there has been a remarkable upsurge in the activities of pirates, particularly at the Gulf of Guinea by suspected Nigerian pirates who may have taken to frequent kidnappings as more lucrative than oil cargo theft.
A recent report monitored by UK-owned Risk Management Solutions Provider Protection Group International (PGI) in January, indicates that there were four recorded attacks on vessels in the area involving kidnapping, a significant increase compared to one per month from October to December 2015.
The development has been attributed to the Nigerian government’s recent crackdown on illicit refineries in the region.
By Alex Akao