Five Abducted in Attack on Polish Cargo Ship off Nigeria

Armed attackers abducted five Polish seamen, including the captain and three officers, from a cargo ship on Nigerian waters, Poland’s government said on Friday.

Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said the five were abducted Thursday night from the ship Szafir. A further 11 crew members, who escaped abduction by barricading themselves inside the ship, were safe and in contact by phone, he said.

Sea Industry and Navigation Minister Marek Grobarczyk said it looked like the attack was carried out by pirates.

The ship, which belongs to a Polish company but is flying a Cypriot flag, is some 30 nautical miles from the Nigerian coast.

There were no reports of injuries and no traces of blood were found, Mr. Waszczykowski said. The ship was damaged when the attackers opened fire.

Mr. Waszczykowski said no demands for ransom have been made and the government is waiting for contact from the abductors either directly or via the Nigerian government to be able to open negotiations.

The ship was traveling from Antwerp, Belgium, to Nigeria and was carrying metal cranes and other items, not containers.