Ship seized off Benin

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Pirates attacked a Portuguese-flagged ship and kidnapped its Bulgarian captain and seven sailors off Benin, Bulgaria’s foreign ministry said.

A ministry statement said the pirates who boarded the Tommi Ritscher container ship at Cotonou port in the Gulf of Guinea on Sunday released 11 crew members.

It requested more details from Benin’s foreign ministry but no information had been received so far.

A representative of the Russian Embassy in Benin and Togo was quoted as saying by TASS news agency three Russian citizens were among the hostages.

This is the latest incident of piracy off Benin. In November the West African nation’s authorities opened an investigation after pirates abducted nine people from a Norwegian-flagged boat.

While piracy decreased worldwide, West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea is a high-risk area for abductions and armed robbery with ships reporting several abductions recently.