Pirates Off Nigeria Kidnap Two Americans From Oil Ship

Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 05:40 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Two Americans have been kidnapped by pirates who attacked an oil ship off Nigeria on Wednesday.

The C-Retriever, which is owned by Louisiana’s Edison Chouest Offshore, was attacked and 13 people held hostage before the pirates left with the ship’s captain and engineer, an unnamed U.S. defense official told The Associated Press. A Nigerian Navy captain confirmed that pirates attacked a ship.

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The ship supplies oil platforms in the Gulf of Guinea, USA Today reported. The seas in that part of the world have become increasingly dangerous, with pirates targeting slow-moving or anchored ships working in the area.

Details of the hijacking haven’t been released, so it’s unclear whether any cargo was taken.

USA Today said the increasing number of problems in that area tend to be either quick “violent” robberies or more intricate operations that involve moving the cargo to another ship and can sometimes take days.

The C-Retriever carries a U.S. flag and both of the kidnapped men are American citizens, said the AP.

The State Department is watching the situation but Pentagon spokesman Maj. Mark Firman said the Department of Defense wouldn’t be involved right now because it’s a “maritime criminal act,” USA Today said.

An article on gCaptain, a maritime publication, quoted an unnamed Nigerian source who works offshore, “Things are definitely getting more intense here.”

Apparently, a boat with Joint Task Force Nigeria individuals on board was also attacked Wednesday morning, and gCaptain’s sources said all people onboard were killed and their weapons stolen.

“This is the second attack on a security boat in the past three days,” gCaptain quoted the source as saying.

The publication also said the brother of the chief engineer kidnapped from the C-Retriever said the FBI is investigating the kidnapping. The man asked that his brother’s name not be released.

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Related stories:

Somali Pirate: Belgium Officials Arrest Influential Kingpin

Pirates Attack Tanker Off Nigeria, Kidnap 5

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