* Crewmen from Ukraine, Russia and Kiribati seized
* Gulf of Guinea oil region vulnerable to pirates
LONDON/ABUJA, April 25 Pirates kidnapped four
crew members when they attacked a container ship off the coast
of Equatorial Guinea, the vessel's management company said on
Hamburg-based shipping firm Leonhardt and Blumberg said the
four hostages - two Ukrainians, a Russian and one from the
Pacific island nation of Kiribati - were taken when the
Liberia-flagged Hansa Marburg was attacked on Tuesday by armed
The raid took place around 130 nautical miles off the coast
of the small West African oil producer.
A Greek-flagged oil tanker, Cap Theodora, was unsuccessfully
attacked twice in the last week off the coast of Nigeria, close
to where the Hansa Marburg was boarded, security sources say.
They believe the attacks are linked.
Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea region, which includes Africa's
biggest oil producer Nigeria, is increasingly pushing up the
cost for shipping firms.
The region is an important source of oil, cocoa and metals
for world markets, but international navies are not actively
engaged there in counter-piracy missions at present. Many
vessels are forced to anchor off Nigeria with little
protection, making them a soft target for criminals.
By contrast, naval patrols and the deployment of armed
guards on ships have sharply curbed piracy off Somalia on
Africa's eastern coast.
(Reporting by Jonathan Saul in London and Joe Brock in Abuja;
Editing by Mark Trevelyan)