A reported 15 sailors aboard a Turkish container ship were kidnapped by pirates off the coast of Nigeria on Saturday, January 23. One was killed in the raid.
The M/V Mozart ship was en route from Lagos, Nigeria to Cape Town when armed pirates boarded and breached its protective citadel. According to Reuters, the kidnapping has been described as a sophisticated and well-orchestrated attack.
The crew initially locked themselves in a safe area but the pirates forced entry and one crew member died during the struggle. They kidnapped most of the crew then abandoned ship in the Gulf of Guinea, leaving three crew members behind.
The ship had been badly damaged, leaving only the navigation system working for the remaining crew members to find their way to shore.
By Sunday evening [January 24], the ship was receiving assistance in Gabonese waters.
“The ship is in our waters and our sailors are assisting a few nautical miles from Port Gentil,” said Gabon’s presidency spokesman Jessye Ella Ekogha.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is orchestrating officials to assist in rescuing kidnapped ship personnel.
According to the International Maritime Bureau, the Gulf of Guinea is the most dangerous sea in the world for piracy.