The master and chief engineer of a Russian cargo ship were missing after a raid by gunmen in the Cameroonian port of Douala, a Russian official and a seafarers association said.
The incident took place late last Sunday when unknown attackers boarded and robbed the crew of the North Spirit, a 6400 tonne cargo ship, before making off with the two men.
Countries in Africa’s oil-producing Gulf of Guinea say the threat of piracy, similar to attacks in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, is spreading across much of the region.
“Armed people came on board, they robbed the cabin (crew) and they took the master and chief engineer,” Vadim Ivanov, head of foreign relations at the Seafarers’ Union of Russia, told Reuters by telephone.
“As far as I know, there have been no claims for ransom.”
An official at the Russian embassy in Yaounde confirmed the attack and said two Russians were missing, but could not give any further details.
The attackers left the rest of the crew, a mix of Russians and Ukrainians, on the boat, Ivanov said, adding the Seafarer’s Union was in direct contact with crew members.
Attacks in the Gulf of Guinea are not on the scale of those in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, where pirates are earning tens of millions of dollars from seizing merchant vessels.
However, the region is becoming increasingly important due to its energy reserves and foreign forces are trying to help local navies and coast guards fight the threat.