The Russian sailors, who were taken hostage off the coast of Nigeria, are safe and sound. The negotiations with the pirates continue, diplomats said.
"There is a delicate, careful process of establishing contact with the kidnappers being conducted," said the charge d'Russia to Nigeria Alexander Chernov.
A special group was set up at the Office of the President of Nigeria to find and release the sailors, Vesti.ru reports. According to Chernov, the Russian Embassy is actively engaged in rescuing the Russians from captivity. The embassy stays in contact with both the French company that owns the ships and the special group to the president, The Voice of Russia says.
The attack on the tugboat Bourbon Liberty 249 was committed on October 15 in the territorial waters of Nigeria, near the town of Brass, Radio Svoboda reports. This vessel is engaged in the maintenance of offshore drilling platforms for the extraction of hydrocarbons on the shelf off the southern coast of Nigeria.
The pirates were not interested in the vessel itself. However, they kidnapped several crewmembers - six Russians and a citizen of Estonia. The whereabouts of the sailors remains unknown.
Kidnappings are often conducted by militant group "Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta", which stands for the nationalization of oil resources. The group conducts subversive activities in oil-production areas. The average ransom, which pirates ask for the people they kidnap, makes up $2 million.