Crew of containership Tommi Ritscher released from captivity

Tommi Ritscher (Photo: Esco)

The Nigerian Navy has confirmed that eight sailors who were kidnapped by pirates from a containership in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of Benin in April 2020 have finally been released after being held captive for over a month.

The crew were from the Portuguese-flagged Tommi Ritscher, which is managed by Hamburg-based Transeste Schiffahrt.

A senior navy official told reporters that details of the sailors’ release could not yet be provided but assured that the hostages are safe and have begun undergoing medical observation.

One of the hostages is reportedly being treated for malnutrition.

The kidnapped crew included Bulgarian, Russian, Ukrainian, and Filipino nationals. Transeste said that all eight sailors would soon be repatriated to be with their respective families.

Tommi Ritscher was boarded by pirates while anchored off Cotonou on April 19. Eleven of the crew had managed to lock themselves up in the vessel’s citadel while the remainder were eventually taken hostage.

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