Pirates abduct five Indians off Nigeria

Gunmen stormed a tanker ship off the coast of Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta, ransacking the vessel and kidnapping five Indian sailors in the latest attack targeting foreign workers in the volatile region, a shipping company said Wednesday.

The attack targeted the SP Brussels tanker as it sat about 40 miles off the coast of Nigeria's Niger Delta, Medallion Marine said in a statement. The gunmen stole personal belongings on board the ship in the attack Monday and kidnapped the sailors, the company said.

"Medallion Marine have been working in close cooperation with the authorities, and everything possible is being done to ensure the safe return of those crewmembers taken from the vessel,'' the statement read. "Nigerian naval vessels are assisting with this process.''

Meanwhile, in Mumbai, sources in the Directorate General of Shipping said that those held hostage include the captain of the freighter, its chief engineer and first officer. "The authorities have been apprised and efforts are on to secure safe release of the Indians," they said.

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