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Nigerian pirates rob, kidnap Dutch ship crew

Eight Nigerian pirates armed with machine guns kidnapped two crew members.

Pirates in Gulf of GuineaEnlarge
Pirates utilize the hidden coves and lack of marine patrol in the Gulf of Guinea to attack ships headed to and from rich port cities in West Africa. Unlike these Somali pirates seen preparing their boat for attacks, the Gulf of Guinea pirates do not usually hold ships for ransom. (Mohamed Dahir/AFP/Getty Images)

Pirates robbed a Dutch-owned ship and kidnapped at least two of its crew members, BBC News reported today. The ship was anchored off the coast of Nigeria. Pirate attacks have become increasingly common on the West African coast.

The latest attack happened Tuesday. Eight Nigerian pirates armed with machine guns boarded a vessel anchored at Port Harcourt, the Associated Press reported. The pirates began firing at the crew members and robbed the ship. They then fled on a small speed-boat with the ship's captain and the ship's chief engineer, the AP said.

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"It is likely the two crew members abducted will be held for ransom onshore," anti-piracy group AKE told Reuters.

The whereabouts of a third crew member are also not known.

Unlike Somalian pirates, Nigerian pirates typically avoid kidnapping crews for ransom and instead just rob the ships for cash and cargo, Reuters said. But onshore kidnapping has become a profitable business in Nigeria.

A day before the kidnapping occurred, the AP had reported that pirate attacks in the Gulf of Guinea have become more sophisticated and systematic. 

“The threat has become even more alarming as the pirates have become more violent,” a United Nations official told the AP

Earlier this month, GlobalPost reported that Nigerian pirates killed two crew members on another ship.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/nigeria/120229/nigerian-pirates-rob-kidnap-dutch-ship-crew