Crime: Seafarers kidnapped in pirate attack released

Six seafarers from an oil tanker kidnapped by pirates off West Africa have been released after more than five weeks.

Crime: Seafarers kidnapped in pirate attack released

Six seafarers from an oil tanker kidnapped by pirates off West Africa have been released after more than five weeks. The ship's owner, Danish oil and shipping company Monjasa, confirmed on Monday that all six crew members who were abducted are now safe. All of them are in relatively good health, explained Monjasa boss Anders Østergaard, with a view to the difficult circumstances that the crew members have been exposed to in recent weeks. They are now being returned to their respective home countries.

Two Lithuanians are already on their way home. This was announced by the State Chancellery of the Baltic EU and NATO country and the crisis team set up by the government on Monday in Vilnius.

The sailors were kidnapped on March 25 in an attack on their Liberian-flagged ship Monjasa Reformer. At the time, the 135-meter-long oil and chemical tanker was about 140 nautical miles (260 kilometers) west of the port of Pointe-Noire in the Republic of Congo. Five days later, the ship was found off the coast of São Tomé and Príncipe. The pirates had left ten other crew members on board, but brought six ashore in Nigeria, according to Monjasa. No information was given about the circumstances of her release.

The Gulf of Guinea off the coast of West Africa is one of the most dangerous areas in the world for merchant ships. The waters off Nigeria in particular are one of the focal points for robberies and kidnappings by pirates. Recently, however, the number of cases has fallen significantly.

Monjasa called on Monday for joint international political action to curb kidnappings like these. Otherwise, piracy in West Africa will continue, the company warned.

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