3 weeks later: 15 Turkish crew members kidnapped on cargo ship off Nigeria, rescued

EYEAFRICA TV: Abuja, NIGERIA:- Fifteen Turkish crew members who were kidnapped on January 23 following pirate attack on Liberian-flagged ship off Nigeria have been rescued on Friday, three weeks after the attack.

Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said the crew members are in good health and will be brought to Turkey from Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The two involved maritime companies, Borealis Maritime and Boden Maritime stated in a statement that the entire crew was now safe in contact with their families.

“We thank the Turkish and Nigerian governments for their support during these challenging three weeks, all government agencies and officials, the entire Borealis community working on land and at sea, and everyone who helped us solve this problem,” the statement added.

After the kidnapping on January 23, Turkey immediately launched initiative to find the crew members. The country mobilized resources, including embassies in Abuja, Nigeria and the neighboring countries for the rescue efforts.

The kidnapped crew members were moving from Lagos, Nigeria to Cape Town, South Africa when they were kidnapped. One person was killed, while three remained with the pirates.

The ship, Mozart, of Istanbul-based Boden company, was attacked in the Gulf of Guinea, 160 kilometers (100 miles) off Sao Tome, officials say.

The attack led to the abduction of 19 crew members, while one of them, an Azerbaijani national, was killed.

Following the attack, the ship anchored at the nearby Port-Gentil, but with only three of its surviving crew members on board.

The vessel was managed by Borealis Maritime, a firm based in London and Hamburg, Germany.

According to data from the International Maritime Bureau, there were 195 pirate attacks on vessels last year — 33 more than in 2019.

The Gulf of Guinea, off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon, is the most dangerous sea in the world for piracy, according to the bureau.

In July 2019, 10 Turkish seamen were kidnapped off the coast of Nigeria. They were released less than a month later.

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