KIEV – The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on Saturday confirmed that six Ukrainian nationals were among the crew members abducted off the coast of Nigeria from the Cameroon-flagged STEVIA cargo ship.
On Wednesday, pirates attacked the vessel in the Gulf of Guinea, having captured eight members of the crew, 28 nautical miles (51.8 kilometres) off the coast of Nigeria. The daughter of one of the captured sailors said on Saturday that there were six Ukrainians aboard the vessel.
“Yes, we are aware of this situation. As a result of a pirate attack on the ship off the coast of Nigeria on December 16, eight crew members were captured, including six Ukrainian citizens,” a spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Oleg Nikolenko, said as quoted by the Ukrinform news agency.
According to the diplomat, the shipowner of the STEVIA cargo ship is an Albanian company, so both the Ukrainian embassies in Nigeria and Albania are taking appropriate response measures.
The Gulf of Guinea is Africa’s most economically active and oil-rich region. Pirate activity in the region has increased in recent years, prompting Nigeria, Ghana and other surrounding regions to set up a naval coordination operation to combat the phenomenon.