Four crew members kidnapped from a chemical tanker earlier this month off the coast of Nigeria have been released in good health, the International Maritime Bureau and Hellenic Coast Guard have confirmed.
The unidentified tanker was attacked by a group of ten armed pirates while underway approximately 32 nautical miles southwest of Bonny Island, Nigeria on March 5, the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre confirmed earlier this month.
During the attack, the pirates chased and fired upon the tanker, eventually boarding the vessel using a grappling hook and ladder. The alarm was raised and all non-essential crew members retreated to the ship’s citadel. The pirates left the tanker after about an hour with the four kidnapped crew members, while the remaining crew sailed the tanker to a safe port, the IMB said.
The Hellenic Coast Guard reported Wednesday that the four hostages, three from Greece and one from the Philippines, were released in good health on March 28.
It is unclear if or how much of a ransom was paid for their release.
The tanker has only been described as Panamanian-flagged and with Greek interests.
Nigeria continues to be a hotspot for violent acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, where gangs of armed pirates board vessels with the intention of kidnapping crew for ransom or stealing fuel oil cargo. The International Maritime Bureau received reports of 14 piracy incidents with nine boardings in 2015, although the actual numbers are believed to be higher as many go unreported.