Two Russian sailors kidnapped off the Nigerian coast in February have been released, according to the Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti citing an official from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
The men, Captain Viktor Pikus and Chief Engineer Vyacheslav Melnikov, were kidnapped after their ship, a Dutch-owned and Curaçao-flagged reefer identified as the Breiz Klipper, was attacked on February 28th by a group of armed pirates while anchored at Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
The attack was of typical fashion for pirates operating in the Gulf of Guinea.
According the IMB report, a group of eight pirates armed with guns stormed the refrigerated cargo ship anchored approximately 3 nm from Fairway Buoy Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The pirates fired shots toward the ship’s bridge and galley before ransacking the vessel, stealing cash and property, and eventually taking the Captain and Chief Engineer hostage as they left. In total the Breiz Klipper had a crew of 14 made up of Russians, Ukrainians and Filipinos. One crewmember was also reportedly injured in the attack.
According to the RIA Novostia report, details of their release have not yet been disclosed but the men are said to be in relative good health.
UPDATE: Nigerian pirates also released a third person, a Filipino, who was originally reported missing following the attack on February 28th.