ABUJA Jan 26 Five Indian sailors kidnapped when
their ship was attacked off the coast of Nigeria last month have
been released, the vessel's operating company said on Saturday.
Pirates looted the SP Brussels, an oil and chemicals tanker,
on Dec. 17 about 40 miles (65 km) off the coast of the Niger
Delta, a vast wetlands region home to Africa's largest energy
"Five crew members who were taken from the vessel by armed
men ... have been released," Medallion Marine said in a
statement. "All five are reported to be in good health after
There were no details on how they were freed but in the past
ransoms have been paid. The Nigerian navy had no immediate
Piracy and kidnapping in Nigeria's oil-producing Delta and
offshore are common. The Gulf of Guinea is second only to the
waters off Somalia for the risk of pirate attacks, which drives
up shipping and oil industry costs.
Nigeria is a busy oil shipping route. The West African
country is among the world's top 10 crude oil exporters and
imports around 80 percent of the fuel products needed for its
160 million people due to a lack of domestic refining capacity.
(Reporting by Joe Brock; Editing by Janet Lawrence)