3 French employees kidnapped from ship off Nigeria

“Pirates armed with Kalashnikov rifles clashed with Nigerian navy forces in a failed bid to take over an offshore oil platform, then kidnapped three French employees of a marine services company while retreating, a Nigerian official said Wednesday.

Navy Commodore David Nabaida said a Thai employee also may have been taken hostage by the pirates during the attack, which began early Wednesday morning.

The French-flagged vessel Bourbon Alexandre was working in an offshore oil field operated by Addax Petroleum, a subsidiary of Chinese state-owned oil producer Sinopec Group.

No claim of responsibility for the attack has been made, officials said.

It was the latest act of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, especially along Nigeria’s 530-mile (850-kilometer) coast. Such attacks have been common near Nigeria’s Niger Delta, an oil-rich region of swamps, mangrove fields and creeks almost the size of South Carolina. However, it is highly unusual for pirates off Nigeria to try to mount a floating oil platform.”

(Source: The Associated Press: 3 French employees kidnapped from ship off Nigeria)

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