10 Turkish sailors held hostage by armed pirates in Nigeria

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A group of ten 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, a 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, told reporters: “We contacted those who were not kidnapped and found out that all crew members hid when the assailants boarded the ship.”

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“All of them had to come out of hiding when the assailants found some and threatened to kill them if the others did not come out. The assailants then picked 10 sailors at random among all the crew members and let others go,” he added, according to Turkish media Daily Sabah..

About 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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