Richard Ginika Izuora
The six Ukrainian sailors kidnapped by pirates in Nigerian waters have been freed on Saturday.
This was disclosed by Ukrainian President, Vladimir Zelensky.
Zelensky expressed gratitude to Ukrainian diplomats and everyone who had a stake in the sailors’ release.
“Our citizens are safe and we expect their return to their homeland soon,” Zelensky wrote on Instagram.
The sailors, a crew of eight, including six Ukrainians, were kidnapped on December 16; when pirates attacked the ship, Stevia, off the coast of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, pirates who kidnapped 15 sailors from a Turkish-crewed container ship in the Gulf of Guinea have made their first contact with the shipping company to discuss a ransom, Turkish state media reported on Thursday.
“Communication has been established with crew members of the Mozart container ship,” Istanbul-based Boden Shipping; which provides technical management services for the vessel, was quoted as saying by state-owned Anadolu news agency.
“Information has been obtained that all 15 crew members are in good health, not wounded and together,” it said.
The company did not say whether a ransom demand was made. However, it declared it would make no further statement in order to protect the “security and health” of the crew and their families.
The pirates had attacked the Turkish cargo ship off Nigeria’s coast in the Gulf of Guinea kidnapping 15 sailors and killing one of the crew members.
The vessel, a Liberian-flagged M/V Mozart was heading from Lagos to Cape Town, South Africa; when it was attacked.
The crew were initially able to hide, but the pirates broke into their hiding place after six hours.
One crew member, an engineer from Azerbaijan and the only non-Turkish citizen in the group, was killed in the ensuing struggle, Middle East Eye reports.
Thereafter, the pirates exited the ship in the Gulf of Guinea, leaving only three sailors aboard.
They left with the 15 kidnapped crew members.
In a chat with Turkish news channel NTV, one sailor still on board the Mozart said several crew members were wounded.