The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has confirmed the release of six seafarers kidnapped off one of its ships, the MSC Mandy, off Cotonou, Benin Republic in January.
This was contained in a statement issued by MSC on Thursday, January 31. According to the statement, the crew members, who are all Russians, were released in Nigeria.
“MSC is pleased and relieved to confirm that the six crew members, who were reported as missing after a small container ship was attacked in the Gulf of Guinea on January 2, have returned home safely,” the statement read.
The company, however, did not disclose if a ransom was paid for the release of the crew.
“MSC has no further comment at this time, out of respect for the crew members and their families,” it said.
According to NATO’s Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG), the vessel was attacked and boarded by pirates some 55 nautical miles off the coast of Cotonou, while it was traversing through the Gulf of Guinea.
The 2,668 TEU ship was sailing from the Port of Lome, Togo when it was boarded. It had 24 crew members on board, including 23 Russian nationals, according to the information from the Russian Embassy in Nigeria. Six Russian crew members were taken, while the remaining crew members were reported safe.
Following the attack, the ship was secured and left Nigerian waters immediately.