12 crew members abducted as pirates attack Swiss ship off Nigerian coast

12 crew members abducted as pirates attack Swiss ship off Nigerian coast

12 crew members abducted as pirates attack Swiss ship off Nigerian coast

Twelve crew members of a Swiss commercial ship have been taken hostage by pirates who attacked the vessel as it sailed off the coast of Nigeria.

It said in a statement emailed on Sunday that the pirates apparently boarded the ship using long ladders and cut razor wire on the deck to make their way to the bridge.

The pirates then destroyed the ship's communications equipment before making off with 12 of the 19 crew members. The company did not give the nationalities of the crew members. A number of foreigners have been kidnapped in the past few years in the southern Niger Delta region, source of most of the crude oil which is the mainstay of west Africa's biggest economy.

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The intruders struck 45 nautical miles from Bonny Island in the Niger Delta, taking 12 of the 19 crew hostage.

"The company is working with the authorities and specialists to secure the speedy and safe release of those being held", Massoel Shipping said in its statement.

Noémie Charton, a spokeswoman for Switzerland's foreign ministry, told CNN the ministry was aware of the attack. According to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, seven of the kidnapped men are from the Philippines and one from each of Slovenia, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia and Bosnia.

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