Africa

Turkish sailors held hostage by armed pirates in Nigeria

A Nigerian naval vessel Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Nigerian navy has increased patrol boats to tackle piracy

A group of 10 Turkish sailors has been kidnapped by pirates off the coast of Nigeria, reportedly for ransom.

The Paksoy-1 was sailing from Cameroon to Ivory Coast when the pirates boarded the ship in the Gulf of Guinea.

It was not carrying freight and eight sailors managed to escape. Turkey says it is working to secure the release of those seized.

The International Maritime Bureau says the Gulf of Guinea is the most dangerous sea in the world for piracy.

Ömer Çelik, spokesman for Turkey's ruling AK Party, said the ministry was following the case closely and "working on it".

Numan Paksoy, operations manager at Kadıoğlu Maritime, said about "12 pirates with heavy guns" had attacked the boat.

Crew members hid in a safe room - the citadel - when the pirates boarded the ship, but emerged after "the assailants threatened to burn the ship and kill all of them", he told the BBC in an emailed statement.

The attackers then picked 10 sailors and let the other eight go, he added.

73% of all sea kidnappings and 92% of hostage-takings occur in the Gulf of Guinea off Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

Recently, the organisation has noted "a welcome and marked decrease" in attacks in the region due to an increase in Nigerian Navy patrols.

Twenty-one incidents have been recorded around Nigeria so far this year, compared to 31 in the same period of 2018.

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Media captionBBC Africa Experts: Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

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