Captain of a Portuguese-flagged cargo ship who was kidnapped along with seven other sailors by pirates off the coast of Benin last month, has been freed, Bulgaria’s foreign Ministry announced on May 25.
The Bulgarian captain of the container ship Tommi Ritscher, which was attacked at the port of Cotonou in the Gulf of Guinea on April 19, was already in an European country and would soon return to Bulgaria, the Ministry said in a statement.
The Ministry said it has been in close coordination with the ship’s owners but did not give other details. It’s unclear what whether the other seven sailors have been released.
Nine crew members from Norway vessel have been abducted by pirates while anchored off the coast of the West African country of Benin. The Gulf of Guinea is notorious among maritime regions, plagued by piracy. (Image: illustration).
The sailors on a vessel Bonita owned by the Norwegian shipping company J.J. Ugland have been kidnapped by pirates while anchored 9 miles (14.5 kilometers) off shore from the port city of Cotonou on November 2.
In a statement published in Norway’s Dagens Naeringslivnewspaper on November 3, the company spokesperson said it would not disclose the crew’s nationalities, citing safety reasons.
“The Ugland Emergency Response Team are handling this situation as per contingency plans, and they are in contact with relevant authorities.
“The families of the crew members have been contacted and will be kept informed by Ugland,” the company
The remaining crew members was able to dock at port with its gypsum cargo the same day.
The Gulf of Guinea, which extends from Gabon to Liberia, has been infested by piracy practicing kidnapping in search for ransom.
The whereabouts of three Russian citizens from the crew of the vessel attacked in the Gulf of Guinea, close to Cameroon port of Douala on August 15, remain unknown, the Foreign Ministry announced. (Image above: illustration).
“Based on the incoming information, on August 15, near the port of Douala (the Republic of Cameroon), unknown perpetrators attacked a cargo vessel “Marmalaita” belonging to the Danish company Ultrabulk, navigating under the flag of Antigua and Barbuda. According to the recruiting agency Marlow Navigation Russia, located in St. Petersburg, the attackers kidnapped eight members of the crew, among them three citizens of the Russian Federation,” the ministry informed.
According to the Russian Embassy in Yaounde, Cameroonian officials and representatives of the ship-owner company are currently investigating the incident. Russian diplomats actively cooperate with the governmental bodies in Cameroon and ship-owners in order to ensure the release of Russian citizens, the ministry added.
On August 15 the AFP agency reported, citing a Cameroon’s Navy source, that unknown perpetrators had abducted sailors from a vessel near the port of Douala. According to the source, “the kidnappers are probably Nigerian pirates.”
The EU’s Political and Security Committee has appointed Major General Charlie Stickland, a high-ranking military official in the Royal Marines, as new Operation Commander of the Operation Atalanta. He will take up his duties on 7 November 2017.
The European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Operation Atalanta contributes to the deterrence, prevention and repression of acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast. The operation is part of the EU’s comprehensive approach for a peaceful, stable and democratic Somalia.
The operation also protects vessels of the World Food Programme and other vulnerable shipping, monitors fishing activities off the coast of Somalia and supports other EU missions and programmes in the region.
After the car bomb attack of 14 October 2017 in Mogadishu, Operation Atalanta, the EU Delegation in Somalia and the EU Training Mission in Somalia, provided support in particular to the United Nations to assist the victims.
The EU’s Political and Security Committee is composed of member states’ ambassadors based in Brussels.