Gunmen seize oil vessel in Nigeria

Gunmen hijacked a vessel belonging to French oil services group Bourbon off Nigeria’s Niger Delta on...

EWN default image new logo

Gunmen hijacked a vessel belonging to French oil services group Bourbon off <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Nigeria</country-region>’s Niger Delta on Sunday as it travelled towards a Royal Dutch Shell offshore oilfield, security sources say.<?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>

The vessel was carrying four expatriates from <country-region w:st="on">Cameroon</country-region>, <country-region w:st="on">Ghana</country-region> and <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Lebanon</country-region> when it was attacked near the Bonny Fairway buoy, a major shipping route for the Nigerian oil services industry, one of the sources said.

"It was hijacked by gunmen in about five speedboats. The vessel lost contact with the control room around the Okwori oilfield area near Bonny," the source, a private security contractor working in the oil industry, said.

A second security contractor confirmed the vessel had been travelling to Shell’s Bonga offshore field when it was seized.

Bourbon officials could not immediately be reached for comment and no group claimed responsibility.

Piracy and kidnapping is common in the Niger Delta, a vast network of mangrove creeks opening into the <placetype w:st="on">Gulf of <placename w:st="on">Guinea and home to <place w:st="on">Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry.