Russian seafarers kidnapped by pirates are released

Pirates released two Russian crew members of the refrigerator vessel Water Phoenix after eight weeks  of holding them in hostages. This information was confirmed by the shipping company Seatrade. The Russian Foreign Ministry added that the Master and the Chief Officer are in safety in Lagos, Nigeria.

Pirates kidnapped the Russian seafarers on September, 8. The Liberia-flagged vessel was under way from  the Dutch port of Ijmeiden to Lagos when it was attacked by pirates off the coast of Nigeria. Following the attack and seizure of the Russian seafarers , the Nigerian navy escorted Water Phoenix with 16 crew on board to the port of Lagos.

- The release of the seafarers has became possible  owing to the coordinated actions of Russian diplomats in Nigeria, Nigerian law enforcement agencies, as well as representatives of the shipowner. Moscow thanks  everyone who contributed to the release of the Russian seafarers  from pirate captivity, - Maria Zakharova, the official representative of the Russian Foreign, said Ministry 

According to Seatrade, both Russians have passed medical examinations and are in relatively good condition.

In addition, the company  thanked the seafarers' families, the Nigerian authorities, the Russian embassy in Lagos, the Dutch police and advisers for their assistance in securing the release of the Water Phoenix crew.

At the moment, representatives of the Russian diplomatic mission in Abuja and the shipowner discuss the arrangement of the seafarers' return home.

The Seafarers' Union of Russia notes that shortly before the attack on Water Phoenix, the  Warlike Operations Area  Committee (WOAC) of the International Bargaining Forum (IBF) issued the alert on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and urged the coastal states to expand cooperation and interaction to settle the situation that is detrimental to merchant shipping and the coastal States themselves.

- Pending a decision regarding the patrolling of the Gulf of Guinea by navies similar to the Operation Atalanta off the coast of Somalia, the seafarers have to strengthen control over the situation at sea and not lose their vigilance, -  SUR added.