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Pirates kidnap 19 crew members from Greek crude oil tanker off Nigeria – officials

Pirates kidnap 19 crew members from Greek crude oil tanker off Nigeria – officials

Pirates have kidnapped 19 crew members from a crude oil tanker off Nigeria in an area where acts of piracy are on the rise, an official with the ship’s operator said on Thursday.

The loaded vessel, the Nave Constellation, was attacked 77 nautical miles off Bonny Island on Tuesday and 18 Indians and one Turk from the crew were reportedly seized. Seven other crew members remain on board the vessel, the official said, adding that neither the vessel nor the cargo were damaged.

The Hong Kong-flagged supertanker, capable of carrying up to 2 million barrels of oil, is operated by Greek shipping company Navios Tankers Management. The vessel was carrying crude for Indian refiner Hindustan Petroleum Corp, a source at the company said. The vessel was chartered by French oil company Total to deliver Bonny Light oil at Vizag in southern India, Reuters reported the source as saying.

Nigerian Navy commander Captain Kolawole Oguntuga said the vessel, which loaded Shell Bonny Light, was hijacked soon after leaving the terminal.