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Five Polish sailors are being held by kidnappers after a cargo ship belonging to a Polish company was attacked off the Nigerian coast, an incident Poland says highlights the need to review safety procedures of vessels operating in the area. Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski told a news conference of Friday that kidnappers had made no demands so far, and that Poland was liaising with Nigerian authorities, but would not get involved directly unless asked to do so. "This is a responsibility of the sovereign state of Nigeria," Waszczykowski said. No traces of blood were discovered on the ship, which operates under the Cyprus flag, he said. The kidnapped sailors included the captain and officers. "The rest of the crew, 11 people, are still on the ship and they are safe... The ship suffered some damage," Waszczykowski said. The ship is currently anchored around 30 sea miles - roughly 56 kilometers - off the Nigerian coast, with the operator arranging for a new crew to take it back to port. The area where the kidnapping took place was not traditionally frequented by pirates, Polish Maritime Minister Marek Grobarczyk said. Grobarczyk said the safety procedures of all Polish companies operating in the area would now be reviewed to ensure sailors' safety.
The ship, named Szafir (Sapphire), had been sailing from the Belgian port of Antwerp to Onee in Nigeria, and it belongs to Polish company Euroafrica, based in Szczecin, north western Poland. It is understood that the Nigerian navy is engaged in a rescue operation. A woman whose husband is apparently onboard the vessel has told Poland's TVN 24 station that “more than a dozen sailors locked themselves in the engine room and turned off the engines.” (nh/rk) Source: IAR/TVN
originally posted by: hubrisinxs
Do you know what kinds of goods where on the ship? I looked up the company Euroafrica and found that they ship general cargo containers, which says to me they ship just about whatever you want to pay them to ship.
Perhaps this ship was full of diamonds or guns or both...
Interesting news story. I would hate to see the Nigeria-Poland war.
The Szafir, owned by the shipping company EuroAfrica, was carrying metal and other items, according to Reuters news agency.
The kidnapped Polish crew, including the captain of the Cyprus-flagged MV Szafir cargo ship has been released, Polish Foreign Affairs Ministry informed. “We would like to announce that the five Polish sailors who were abducted off the Nigerian coast on 27 November have been released. They are safe and sound, and will soon return home. At the moment, they are under the protection of Poland’s consular services in Nigeria,” the Ministry’s Spokesperson Artur Dmochowski said. The vessel, which is owned by Voltaire Shipping Company and operated by Euroafrica Services Nigeria Limited, was en route to Onne port from Antwerp when it was attacked. A group of armed men boarded Szafir approximately seven nautical miles east of Brass at about 01:49 hours local time and took five crew members hostage, including three officers and the captain. The remaining 11 members of the crew managed to escape the pirates by barricading themselves inside the ship’s engine room. They had made their way to Poland beforehand and they are now with their families, according to the update. “The abduction of the Polish sailors and efforts to achieve a happy solution have been a priority for the Polish authorities and Euroafrica, the ship owner, which conducted difficult and protracted negotiations with the kidnappers,” Dmochowski added, without specifying the terms of the crew’s release. The Polish government had established an interdepartamental emergency task force which cooperated with the ship owner and the Nigerian services to free the abducted crew.