MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti) – Three sailors – two Russians and a Romanian – captured by pirates from a British-owned vessel off the coast of west Africa last month have been released, the ship‚Äôs operator has reported.
‚ÄúCarisbrooke Shipping, operators of the general cargo vessel “Esther C”, is pleased and relieved to report that the three officers who were taken from the vessel by armed men 80 miles off the south coast of Nigeria in February and held hostage, have now been released,‚Äù the operator said in a statement Monday.
In early February, Nigerian pirates seized the British-owned 8,000 ton cargo ship MV Esther C off Cameroon in the Gulf of Guinea. Two Russians and a Romanian crew member, who were on board, were taken from the vessel as hostages, Carisbrooke Shipping said last month. The ship later resumed its voyage, with the remaining crew of nine Filipinos reported by the company to be safe and unharmed.
‚ÄúThe vessel was boarded and ransacked by heavily armed pirates in international waters south of the Gulf Of Guinea on 7th February before they made off with the 3 crew members,‚Äù the operator said Monday. ‚ÄúThe three officers were confirmed as being safe and in good spirits on March 11 after 31 days in captivity.‚Äù
The company also thanked the three officers ‚Äúfor their courage and fortitude‚Äù and extended its ‚Äúappreciation to the governments, government agencies and other professionals who assisted in bringing this difficult situation to a close.‚Äù
The pirates were earlier reported to demand ransom from the ship owners. It was not immediately clear whether their demands were fulfilled.
In mid-February pirates attacked another vessel, Armada Tuah 101, capturing six crewmembers, including one Russian. The sailors were freed in a week.
West Africa is one of the world’s most dangerous areas for piracy, according to the International Chamber of Commerce’s Maritime Bureau.