Pirates Kidnap Eight from Tug Off Nigeria, Attack Tanker

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The eight crew members were kidnapped their tug approximately 11 nautical miles off Brass, Nigeria. Image credit: IMB Piracy Reporting Centre

Armed pirates kidnapped eight crew members from tug operating off Nigeria on Wednesday, while another tanker was targeted in the general area, the International Maritime Bureau reported Thursday.

The IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre confirmed the kidnapping, reporting that an offshore tug was attacked and boarded by armed pirates at approximately 09:34 UTC around 11 nautical miles south of Brass, Nigeria. The pirates escaped the vessel kidnapping eight crew and wounding one. The Nigerian Navy responded to the incident and evacuated the injured crew member by helicopter.

In a separate incident, the IMB said a group of nine pirates in a skiff approached and fired upon a tanker underway about 59 nautical miles south-southwest of Brass at around 08:45 UTC. The crew was able to raise the alarm, started the fire pumps, and all non-essential crew retreated to the citadel. The tanker increased speed and conducted evasive maneuvers and the pirate skiff was seen aborting the attack. The crew and tanker are reported safe.

According to the IMB, so far in 2017 there have been five boardings, four vessels fired upon, and two reports of suspicious vessels off Nigeria.

RELATED: IMB Piracy Report: Sea kidnappings rise in 2016 despite plummeting global piracy