10 Turkish sailors kidnapped by pirates in Nigeria released

Ten Turkish sailors kidnapped by suspected Niger Delta militants were released on Friday, Turkish state media reported, not providing any details about who had kidnapped the men or if a ransom had been paid.

On July 16, at least 10 Turkish sailors traveling aboard the Ivory Coast-bound Turkish ship, Paksoy-1, was intercepted by pirates off the coast of Nigeria. The container ship had been sailing from Cameroon to Ivory Coast when the pirates boarded the ship in the Gulf of Guinea.

A local official shared information that the ship was operated by Kadioglu Maritime and had 18 crew on board when it was attacked by pirates suspected to be from Nigeria’s volatile Delta region.

Turkish state media channel TRT mentioned that the released sailors were in good health but gave no further details.

Numan Paksoy, from the ship’s management company Kadıoğlu Maritime, told BCC that  “about 12 pirates with heavy guns attacked the boat”. The crew members hid in a safe room but when the “pirates threatened to burn the ship and kill all of them”, they surrendered to the pirates. Paksoy said that the attackers then picked 10 sailors and let the other eight go. After the pirates’ interception, the Turkish vessel docked at the port of Tema in Ghana.

According to Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT, four Turkish nationals were also kidnapped in Nigeria’s Kwara State on 19 July and were rescued on 26 July.

International Maritime Bureau data shows that the Gulf of Guinea is the most dangerous sea in the world for piracy, with 73% of all sea kidnappings and 92% of hostage-takings occurring in the Gulf off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin, and Cameroon, BBC reported.

Over the last few years, Somali pirates have abated and West Africa’s waters are now the continent’s most dangerous.