Four foreign oil workers kidnapped off Nigeria freed

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 23, 2012 5:06 AM
Four foreign oil workers kidnapped off Nigeria freed

YENAGOA/ABUJA (Reuters) - Four foreigners working for Netherlands-based Sea Trucks Group who were kidnapped by pirates off the Nigerian coast on August 4 have been released, the company and the navy said on Thursday.

The navy had previously said the gunmen abducted a Malaysian, an Iranian, a Thai and an Indonesian worker. The company declined to comment on their nationalities.

"At about 0755am on August 23, the four expatriates that were kidnapped during the attack on MV JASCON 33 belonging to Sea Truck on August 4 off the shores of Bonny were released by the pirates," navy spokesman Kabir Aliyu told Reuters.

Sea Trucks spokeswoman Corrie van Kessel confirmed by email on Thursday that their staff had been released and were "OK". She did not say if the company paid a ransom to the kidnappers.

Piracy and kidnapping in the Niger Delta and offshore are common, and West Africa's oil-rich Gulf of Guinea is second only to the waters off Somalia for the risk of pirate attacks, which drives up shipping insurance costs.

They are seen as more of a criminal enterprise making huge sums for armed gangs than as political acts.

Pirates attacked an oil supply vessel contracted by Chevron off the Nigerian coast in November last year, taking three foreign hostages who were released the following month.

(Reporting by Owolabi Tife and Joe Brock; Editing by Alison Birrane and Pravin Char)