Pirates Kill 1, Kidnap 15 Crew Of Turkish Ship

Cheryl Sanders
January 27, 2021

Armed pirates on Saturday attacked a Turkish cargo ship off the Gulf of Guinea, on the West African coast.

Turkey has launched rescue efforts after armed pirates attacked a container ship and abducted 15 sailors in the Gulf of Guinea.

Echoing comments by President Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's transport minister said the government was working to ensure the swift release of the sailors.

In a statement posted on the ministry's website, Abdullayeva said that the body is now approaching Gabon's Port Gentil.

Turkish Ambassador to Gabon Nilufer Erdem Kaygisiz met with the remaining sailors of the ship. One crew member, an Azeri engineer and the only non-Turkish citizen in the group, was killed in the ensuing struggle.

Turkish media reported that the vessel along with the crew was abducted at gunpoint. Earlier, a voice from the Mozart - purportedly that of the new captain - had said on a recording posted on Twitter: "I do not know where I am heading".

Erdogan spoke twice by phone with the ship's fourth captain, Furkan Yaren, who remained aboard after the attack, his office said. Out of 135 sailors abducted globally previous year, 130 were recorded in the Gulf of Guinea - the highest ever number of crew members kidnapped in the area stretching thousands of kilometres from Senegal to Angola.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said: "We are continuing coordinated negotiations for the release of the abducted sailors".

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reported that Cavusoglu also had a telephone call with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Jeyhun Bayramov, and expressed his condolences for Ismayilov who was killed in the attack.

The International Maritime Bureau has designated the Gulf of Guinea as the most unsafe sea for piracy. Last year, boardings in the waters off West Africa rose to 18 from 13 in 2019, the London-based firm added.

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