The whereabouts of the Russian sailors, who were captured on Monday off the coast of Nigeria, still remain unknown. The local military have joined the search for six Russians and one Estonian citizens.
The pirates seized the Liberty 249 tugboat. The boat stays on the Bonny River, the state of Rivers, a Nigerian navy spokesman said. According to him, the sailors stay on board the tugboat; the Nigerian authorities plan an operation to rescue them, said svobodanews.ru.
The sailors were taken hostage on October 15 in southern Nigeria, Vesti.ru reports. A representative of the French company that owns the tugboat said that nine members of the crew managed to escape from the invaders and reach the Nigerian port of Onne. The pirates did not show any interest in the vessel, which was used to deliver equipment to oil fields.
According to information provided by the Russian Embassy in Nigeria, none of the crew was injured. The Russian Embassy cooperates with local authorities in an effort to free the Russians. According to experts, the story may take several days and even weeks, adds AsiaReport.
As noted by NTV, rebel group Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta conducts subversive activities in the area, where the state of emergency occurred. The group has been active on that territory for six years. The gang members claim to be defending the interests of the population of the oil-producing areas of Nigeria, seeking redistribution of income from the sale of "black gold."