Pirates have kidnapped 12 crew members from a Swiss cargo vessel in Nigerian waters.
Massoel Shipping said its vessel, MV Glarus, was carrying wheat from Lniagos to Port Harcourt when it was attacked on Saturday. The intruders struck 45 nautical miles from Bonny Island in the Niger Delta, taking 12 of the 19 crew hostage.
A spokesman for Geneva-based Massoel said the pirates had destroyed much of the vessel's communications equipment. Specialists are on route to ensure the hostages' speedy and safe release, the shipping company said.
Sputnik: Is Africa facing a new wave of piracy?
Sputnik: Why are the pirates choosing to kidnap rather than take cargo?
Sarah Craze: Kidnap and ransom allows pirates to exploit the higher value of price valued on human life and property, that's their motive. If the cargo is something they are specifically after and they want to use themselves, but taking cargo requires a criminal network that they need to use to dispose of it. That increases the risk of being caught. It's up to the ship's owner to pay the ransom, payments have been shown as a cost effective way to deal with hijack situation, but it also encourages more piracy. Kidnap and ransom the one benefit if you could call it that is it generally means the ship and the crew are kept intact. They will be threatened with violence but they won't necessarily be damaged because their value is in the ransom payments keeping them intact.
Sarah Craze: Well the main problem its security used on ships is armed guards now, that's since the Somali piracy epidemic, that was an effective deterrent to pirates, the problem is its very expensive to pay for it every voyage and it doesn't stop the issue of people becoming pirates in the first place. The issue is a land based problem in stopping the reasons people are becoming pirates. What Nigeria has that Somalia doesn't, is it does have an established government and navy. It does have mechanisms in place to tighten its authorities on its citizens going to sea, so it could manage the situation with political will and possibly international assistance to sure up these mechanisms. Ultimately it's at the ship owners discretion if they want to use armed guards, they are not particularly regulated and there has been alloy of controversy over their use. It comes down to competing interests, the ship owners want to stop the ships being attacked, where the actual problem of piracy needs to be resolved on land then that will stop it occurring at all.
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