Nigerian pirates released US Mariners
By Tom Clarke
Two U.S. mariners held captive by Nigerian pirates have been released, according to a U.S. Department of State spokeswoman. Few details have been provided except that the Captain and Chief Engineer of the Edison Chouest Offshore supply vessel are healthy and safe. The U.S. mariners were released over the weekend and are on their way home after a private firm negotiated their release.
The oil rig supply vessel, C-RETRIEVER, operates in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Nigeria, where there has been a recent uptick in piracy activity. Because of the proximity of oil rigs to the Nigerian coast and the frequency with which supply vessels operate in the area, the vessels are soft targets for piracy and hijacking.
Not only has piracy activity in the Gulf of Guinea increased over the past twelve months, but pirate tactics have evolved. When the Nigerian pirates stormed the C-RETRIEVER nearly three weeks ago they separated the crew by nationality before kidnapping the American officers, the only Americans aboard.
Vessels operating in the Gulf of Guinea are advised to take all available precautions in defense of piracy and hijacking. The ransom amount paid in the C-RETRIEVER incident has not been disclosed but rest assured that any amount of money will only further motivate pirates in the region.