MOSCOW, February 26 (RIA Novosti) – Six sailors including a Russian national seized off the Nigerian coast two weeks ago have been released and will soon go home, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
The six sailors on board the Armadah Tuah ship, captured by pirates 70 km (42 miles) off the Nigerian coast in the Brass region on February 17 were released on Monday, the ministry said quoting the ship‚Äôs manager, the Nigerian branch of the Malaysian company Bumi Armadah Navigation.
There were three Ukrainians, two Indian nationals, and one Russian on board.
‚ÄúAll the hostages are now free and well and will soon return home,‚Äù the ministry said.
It provided no other details, including whether any ransom was paid for their release. When the crew were taken, AP reported their captors had demanded a 200 million naira ($1.27 million) ransom.
In mid-January, an international maritime watchdog said the activity of sea pirates in international waters has subsided to the lowest level since 2008. Pirate activity intensified however off the coast of Nigeria, with 58 incidents and 207 crew members taken hostage in 2012.
Somalia and the Gulf of Aden remain the world‚Äôs most dangerous maritime routes, accounting for nearly a quarter of the world‚Äôs piracy incidents. Seventy-five ships were attacked there last year. This figure, however, is well below the 2011 figure of 237¬†attacks.