Lagos, Sept. 5 (Reuters): A Nigerian naval ship freed an oil tanker today that had been hijacked near its biggest city Lagos, the navy and the managers of the vessel said.
According to security sources, there were 22 Indian sailors on board.
The Singapore-registered Abu Dhabi Star was hijacked late yesterday, about 14 nautical miles from the entrance to Lagos port, the navy said, adding that crew members had hidden in a room on the ship.
The raiders escaped when they saw a Nigerian naval ship and naval helicopter approach, navy spokesperson Commodore Kabir Aliyu said.
“There was no exchange of fire. All the crew members are safe,” he said. The rescued ship would anchor at Lagos harbour under naval protection pending an investigation, he added.
Lieutenant Commander Jerry Osomara, the Nigerian navy’s spokesperson for Lagos, said it was not known if the fuel on board had been stolen.
Piracy off Nigeria and other countries in West Africa’s oil-rich Gulf of Guinea is on the rise, and the region is second only to the waters off Somalia for the risk of pirate attacks, which drives up shipping insurance costs.