Two crew members of BOURBON-owned anchor handling and tug supply vessel (AHTS) were kidnapped by pirates off Nigeria on the 23rd of February 2016.
“BOURBON confirms that one of its vessels, the Bourbon Liberty 251, was the object of an attack. Two crew members of Nigerian and Russian nationalities are considered as abducted,” the company said in a statement.
The ten other crew members are back on board the vessel in Onne port, safe and sound, the statement reads.
The French offshore vessel supplier said that an emergency cell has immediately been set up. There was no further information disclosed on the attack or potential request for ransom.
The attack comes in less then a year when three BOURBON’s crew members of Nigerian nationality were kidnapped when the company’s crew boat, the Surfer 1440, was boarded off the Nigerian coast in April 2015. The crew was released on May 8th, however BOURBON did not reveal the terms of their release.
The recent period has seen a considerable rise in attacks in the Gulf of Guinea, with Nigerian pirates resorting to kidnappings more frequently as they abandon oil cargo theft as less lucrative trade.
According to UK-owned risk management solutions provider Protection Group International (PGI), in January there were four recorded attacks on vessels in the area involving kidnapping, a significant increase compared to one per month from October to December 2015. This is attributed particularly to the Nigerian government’s crackdown on illicit refineries in the region.