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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Lagos (AFP) – Pirates have stormed an oil supply vessel off southern Nigeria and kidnapped the ship’s captain and chief engineer, both U.S. citizens, a private security firm and U.S. officials said Thursday.

A U.S.-flagged C-Retriever owned by American oil servicing company Edison Chouest Offshore was attacked on Wednesday off the city of Brass, said AKE, a London-headquartered private security firm.

“Both the chief engineer and the captain were kidnapped,” Richard Fylon of AKE said. “They are both American.”

U.S. defence officials in Washington, who requested anonymity, confirmed the details.

The U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps had not yet received orders to intervene, two U.S. defense officials told AFP.

An official at AKE’s Lagos office said this was the first reported kidnapping of U.S. nationals around the oil-producing Niger Delta region in at least two years.

The official, who requested anonymity, said the same area was attacked by pirates earlier this week, but that there appeared to have been no increase in naval patrols operating in the area.

Police spokesman Alex Akhigbe in Bayelsa state, where Brass is located, told AFP he had no details on the raid.

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