By: Bill Waters, NewsOXY Reporter
10/17/2012 07:45 PM ET
Pirates kidnap six Russians off the coast of Nigeria and an Estonian during an attack on their ship, the French company operating the vessel said on Wednesday. Nine others were safe after the ship reached the Nigerian port of Onne in the oil-rich Niger Delta.
Nine others were safe and on their way to the Nigerian port of Onne.
There has been a spate of pirate attacks on cargo ships off the West African coast in recent months.
Bourbon, the French company that owns the ship, did not disclose the vessel's exact location at the time of the attack on Monday but said an emergency unit had been set up to help the missing sailors.
"The emergency unit has been set up to aim at their rapid liberation under the safest security conditions," the company said in a statement.
The firm has been targeted by pirates in Nigeria before.
In 2010, three French crewmen were kidnapped off a Bourbon-operated ship in an oilfield in the Niger delta, the heart of Africa's biggest oil and gas industry.
The hostages were later released.
Pirate attacks are on the rise in the Gulf of Guinea, which is second only to the waters around Somalia for piracy.
Attackers usually seize boats to steal their cargo then free the crew. Kidnappings for ransom also take place in the waters around the delta, the heart of Africa's biggest energy industry.
Pirates freed a Greek-operated gasoline tanker earlier this month that they had hijacked in the Gulf of Guinea near Ivory Coast. Fuel ships are a favourite target.
In August pirates attacked a Greek-operated oil tanker with a crew of about 20 off the coast of Togo. They released the ship a few days later after stealing 3,000 tonnes of fuel.
Nigerian navy spokesman Commodore Kabir Aliyu said his forces were searching for the pirates involved in Monday's attack.