Pirates kidnapped 12 crew members of a Swiss merchant cargo ship near Nigeria

Kidnapping for ransom has become a major problem in Nigeria. A group of pirates attacked a Swiss merchant cargo ship, the MV Glarus, off the coast of Nigeria on Saturday, kidnapping 12 of the 19 crew members.

MV Glarus was travelling between Lagos and oil hub of Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta. The vessel carrying wheat. The pirates boarded the vessel about 45 nautical miles southwest of Bonny Island using long ladders, and cut razor wire on the deck to make their way to the bridge. They destroyed much of the ship's communications equipment. The ship is currently being held at Bonny Island. None of those kidnapped were from Switzerland. Seven of the crew members are from the Philippines, with a national from each of Slovenia, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia and Bosnia.

MV Glarus vessel

Nigeria's navy and maritime police said they were unaware of the kidnapping and will investigate. The company Massoel Shipping said that it’s working with authorities to locate and secure the release of the hostages. "Pirates usually don't make contacts in the first 48 hours, so we don't have any news on that," Massoel spokesman Patrick Adamson said. There has been a slight increase in hostage-takings off the coast of Nigeria, according to a 2017 report by the watchdog Oceans Beyond Piracy. In the he Gulf of Guinea , where the attack occurred Saturday. there were 29 pirate incidents in the first quarter of 2018.