India shares 'concerns' with Nigeria over kidnapping of 20 Indians aboard commercial vessel

New Delhi, Delhi, India Updated: Dec 16, 2019, 11:14 PM(IST)

File photo: S Jaishankar Photograph:( ANI )

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According to ARX Maritime, the vessel was attacked by pirates on December 2 at 19:20 (UTC).

The Ministry of External Affairs on Monday said that the Indian government has shared its concerns with the Nigerian authorities over the kidnapping of 20 Indians crew members aboard a commercial vessel in the western coast of Africa a day before.

"We are concerned by the kidnapping of 20 Indian crew members (as reported by the Shipping agency) from the vessel MT Duke in the high seas off the western coast of Africa on 15th December 2019. Our Mission in Abuja has taken up the matter with the Nigerian authorities, as also with the authorities of the neighbouring countries," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a statement.

"The safety of hostages is paramount and we continue to engage with Nigerian authorities and other stakeholders closely on the recent incidents," the spokesperson added.

The ministry has noted that this is the third such incident this year in the region, affecting Indian nationals.

In another incident, 18 Indians were on board a Hong Kong-flagged vessel that was hijacked by pirates while it was transiting through Nigeria according to a global agency tracking maritime developments in the region earlier this month.

According to ARX Maritime, the vessel was attacked by pirates on December 2 at 19:20 (UTC).

The pirates managed to board the vessel and kidnap 19 crew members before escaping.

The 19 seafarers comprised 18 Indian nationals and one Turkish national.

The vessel is now said to be safe and under the escort of the Nigerian Navy.

The whereabouts and details of crew members are yet to be ascertained. 

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