Pirates have kidnapped 15 sailors from a Turkish container ship off Nigeria’s coast on Saturday.
The M/V Mozart was traveling from the Nigerian city of Lagos to Cape Town, South Africa, when the attack took place. One Azerbaijani citizen was killed in the raid. All of those kidnapped are Turkish citizens.
According to Turkey’s Maritime Directorate, the crew initially locked themselves in a safe area. After six hours, the pirates managed to force their way into the secure area, which resulted in the death of one of the engineers, but the pirates forced entry into the safe zone after six hours.
Most of the crew hostage before the pirates abandoned the ship leaving three sailors aboard. The pirates disabled most of the ship’s systems. The navigation system was left activated in order to ensure the remaining crew members were able to find their way to port.
“The ship is in our waters and our sailors are assisting a few nautical miles from Port Gentil,” said Gabon’s presidency spokesman Jessye Ella Ekogha, according to CNN.
There has been mounting pressure on Nigeria to do more to protect passing shippers on its coast. The recent attack could result in calls for the Gulf of Guinea country to tighten its laws and increase security.
“The fact that someone died, the number of people taken and the apparent use of explosives to breach the ship’s citadel means it is a potential game-changer,” said David Johnson, CEO of the EOS Risk Group.
“It’s clearly quite sophisticated and if pirates have decided to use munitions it’s a big move,” he said.