MOSCOW, February 9 (RIA Novosti) - Two Russians and a Romanian crew member who were on a British-owned ship seized by pirates on Thursday night off Cameroon, have been taken off the vessel as hostages, the ship's operator said on Saturday.
The 8,000 ton cargo ship MV Esther C was boarded by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea, its operator Carisbrooke Shipping said.
"Having stolen personal possessions, the pirates departed the vessel taking three crew members as hostage," Carisbrooke said in a statement. The crew also included nine Phillipinos.
The ship is now back under command and has resumed its voyage, and the remaining crew members are safe and unharmed, the company said.
The Russian embassy in Cameroon said on Friday it was trying to identify the abducted Russian nationals.
Britain is also working to release the hostages, and the Russian and British authorities are in talks with Cameroon’s law enforcement officials and port authorities, the ministry said.
The incident is not the first in which Russians have been abducted off Cameroon.
Two Russians onboard the Greek-owned vessel North Spirit were captured by pirates in Cameroon's largest port of Douala in mid-May 2010, but released in July that year after the Greek shipping company paid a ransom.
West Africa is one of the world's most dangerous areas for piracy, according to the International Chamber of Commerce's Maritime Bureau.