The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on Saturday confirmed that six of its nationals were among the crew members abducted off the coast of Nigeria, from a Cameroon-flagged STEVIA cargo ship.
Foreign ministry spokesman, Oleg Nikolenko, as quoted by the Ukrinform news agency, said the pirates had attacked the vessel in the Gulf of Guinea, Africa’s most economically active and oil-rich region..
He confirmed that the pirates captured eight members of the crew, 28 nautical miles (51.8 kms) off the coast of Nigeria.
“Yes, we are aware of this situation. As a result of a pirate attack on the ship off the coast of Nigeria on December 16, eight crew members were captured, including six Ukrainian citizens,” Nikolenko said.
According to the diplomat, the owner of the STEVIA cargo ship is an Albanian company, so both the Ukrainian embassy in Nigeria and Albania were taking appropriate response measures.
The daughter of one of the captured sailors, on Saturday, also said that there were six Ukrainians aboard the vessel.
Pirate activity in the region has increased in recent years, prompting Nigeria, Ghana, and other surrounding countries to set up a naval coordination operation to combat the phenomenon.