Report says Nine Chinese and eight Ukrainian seamen have been abducted after two merchant vessels came under attack in Cameroonian waters.
The nationalities were confirmed by a Cameroonian security official, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity said the attacks took place on Thursday off the port of Douala. Where the “Seventeen Chinese and Ukrainians were kidnapped … [of whom] nine [are] Chinese who were abducted on one of the ships
A navy source said Cameroon’s security forces had launched a search for the kidnappers.
Russian news agency TASS on Friday quoted a statement by Russia’s foreign ministry as saying that three of the kidnapped sailors were Russian nationals. Many Ukrainians also hold Russian citizenship.
The ministry said Russian diplomats were actively cooperating with the Cameroonian government to ensure the release of the abductees.
In Malaysia, Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a watchdog agency, said the 17 seamen were seized from two ships that were attacked within hours of each other while they were anchored off Douala.
Choong said one of the ships was a multipurpose German-owned ship that flew the flag of Antigua and Barbuda.
However, the Russian foreign ministry’s statement said the perpetrators attacked a cargo vessel sailing under the flag of Antigua and Barbuda that belonged to Danish company Ultrabulk.
The other vessel that was reportedly attacked was a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier managed in Greece with a Greek owner.
” The IMB has recently described the Gulf of Guinea as the most dangerous area in the world for shipping. According to its estimations, 73 percent of all sea kidnappings and 92 percent of hostage-takings occur there, with pirates normally taking sailors for ransom.
The 17 countries in the Gulf of Guinea and adjacent regions have limited surveillance and maritime defence capabilities.
They have been trying for several years to bolster their means of intervention and to put in place closer collaboration.