ABUJA Feb 19 Pirates boarded a ship two days
ago off the coast of Nigeria's oil-region, a piracy watchdog
said on Tuesday, the latest in a string of attacks close to
Africa's biggest energy producer.
The attack took place around 55 miles off the coast of the
Brass oil region on Sunday, the International Maritime Bureau
(IMB) said in a piracy report.
There were reports that an unknown number of foreigners were
kidnapped in the attack on the Armadah Tuah vessel, according to
maritime-risk exports AKE.
The Nigerian navy did not respond to requests for comment.
"If confirmed, the attack would be the third offshore
kidnapping in the area in 10 days, following the attacks on
Esther C and Walvis 7 on Feb. 7 and Feb. 10 respectively," AKE
said in a security report.
In a separate attack on Sunday, robbers in a wooden boat
boarded a ship anchored at the Lagos port and stole the stores
kept on the ship before escaping, the IMB report said.
Piracy off the Nigerian coast and elsewhere in the Gulf of
Guinea is on the rise. There have been at least five attacks in
the waters off Africa's most populous nation this month.
The coastline, rich in natural resources such as cocoa and
metals, is second only to the waters off Somalia for the risk of
pirate attacks, which drives up shipping and oil industry costs.
Nigeria is a busy oil shipping route. The West African
country is among the world's top 10 crude oil exporters and
imports around 80 percent of the fuel products needed for its
160 million people due to a lack of domestic refining capacity.
(Reporting by Joe Brock; additional reporting by Jonathan Saul
in London; Editing by Mark Potter)