Crew on tanker hijacked off Nigeria freed
Moscow - The crew of the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Cape Bird, hijacked by pirates off the Nigerian coast, have been freed, the Russian firm which hired the sailors said on Friday.
"The entire crew were freed this morning," the head of the Columbia shipping recruitment firm Sergei Panyushkin told the Interfax and RIA Novosti news agencies, saying information about how they were freed would only be divulged once the ship had returned to port.
According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), the attack took place on Saturday around 90 nautical miles south of Lagos, Nigeria's economic capital.
Russian sources said earlier the crew includes three Russians from the Black Sea city of Novorossiisk as well as nationals of Georgia, Ukraine and the Baltic nation of Latvia.
Panyushin said that the crew were safe and well and had not been harmed.
The coast of Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, is a dangerous place to sail with pirates hijacking ships - mostly loaded with crude from the oil-rich Niger Delta - for sale on the region's lucrative black market.
A spokesperson for the Nigerian navy said that the tanker was carrying 30 000 tons of fuel.