The Indian Shipping Ministry said international naval forces rescued 20 Indian sailors after pirates hijacked their Norwegian-flag bulk carrier off the coast of Nigeria Tuesday.
“The crew, following the best management practices, locked themselves into the citadel — safe room — on board. The naval forces in the region were alerted and the vessel is now free of pirates and all the crew members are reportedly safe,” the ministry said.
The 58,000 deadweight-ton Spar Rigel, built in 2010, is owned by Norway-based Spar Shipping AS.
Officials also said pirates released the Savina Caylyn, an Italian-flag oil tanker, and its 17 Indian crew members Dec. 22 after 11 months of captivity. The tanker had been on its way from Marsa Bashayer, Sudan, to Pasir Gudang, Malaysia, with a cargo of crude oil when it was seized Feb. 8, 2011, about 500 miles west of India.
The crew also included five Italian nationals. Officials did not give any other details about the ship's release, but media reports said the ship owner paid a ransom of $11.5 million.