Somali pirates took five Indian sailors hostage after attacking a German oil tanker off the southern coast of Nigeria.
Reports said the Marshall Islands-flag SP Brussels was boarded by heavily armed pirates on Dec. 17, approximately 40 nautical miles off the Niger Delta region.
"The pirates ransacked the vessel for personal belongings and took five crewmembers with them on their departure,” ship operator Medallion Marine said in a statement.
The ship operator said the remaining crewmembers were safe and that the tanker had arrived at the Port of Lagos.
“Everything possible is being done to ensure the safe return of those crewmembers taken,” the company said.
The incident comes three months after international naval forces managed to rescue 23 Indian sailors aboard a Singapore-flag oil tanker, the Abu Dhabi Star, which had come under attack from African pirates off the coast of Lagos. Somali pirates were estimated to be holding captive 43 Indian sailors on five foreign-flag ships, according to a recent report released by the Indian Shipping Ministry.