Pirates Kidnap Two American Sailors Off Nigerian Coast
Pirates attacked an American supply vessel off the coast of Nigeria on Tuesday night, and captured both the Captain and Chief Engineer.
The two U.S. citizen sailors had been working in a nearby field off Brass, Nigeria, in the Gulf of Guinea when their oil supply vessel C-Retriever was attacked, according to gCaptain. The brother of the Chief Engineer confirmed that the FBI were working on the case, as U.S. officials believe that the pirates are likely seeking to fetch a ransom for the men’s safe return.
As of yet, there are no concrete plans to stage a hostage rescue mission since there are no U.S. warships in the immediate area, sources told NBC News. If officials decide their best option is to make a rescue attempt, a Dutch warship with U.S. Marines on board due to a military exchange program could be called into action.
The International Maritime Bureau issued a report earlier this month that revealed that the coast of Nigeria had seen a one-third rise is pirate attacks over the last year. In the pirating hotbed of the Gulf of Guinea, all 34 crew kidnappings of 2013 have taken place. Giving officials hope regarding Tuesday's kidnapping is the fact that past incidents have seen the sailors safely taken to shore, from where they wait for their ransom to be paid.
Nigeria has now taken the place of Somalia, which used to be the most feared coastal waters for merchant marines. Even Capt. Richard Phillips, whose story of being taken hostage by Somali pirates was turned into a feature film starring Tom Hanks, agreed with that suggestion on Today. After mentioning the inherent dangers in the seas off Nigeria, Phillips added, “If you're gonna be in the merchant marines, you’ll have to deal with piracy. Firemen go into a burning house. Police have to deal with violent situations. Merchant marines have to deal with piracy."
– Chelsea Regan