TWO crew members who are believed to be American citizens were reportedly kidnapped from an offshore support vessel while an unknown number
of soldiers were alleged to have been shot dead in two incidents off Nigeria, according to reports.
The master and chief engineer of a vessel, said to be Edison Chouest Offshore’s C-Retriever, were abducted off the coast of Brass on Wednesday, Reuters claimed.
Reuters cited a US defence official as saying the State Department and the FBI were leading a response to the abductions.
According to the reports, nobody was immediately available for comment on Thursday morning local time.
In what appears to be a separate incident, the Captain also reported that militants attacked a Nigerian Joint Task Force security boat off Brass on Thursday, killing all the personnel on board and taking weapons.
The International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre has not been able to get independent verification of either incident.
Edison is one of the most active offshore support vessel operators in Nigeria and, consequently, has suffered previous security incidents.
In November 2011, three crew members were taken from the Edison-owned C-Endeavour off Nigeria as it worked for US supermajor Chevron on the Agbami field. They were later released.
Moreover, the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) also claimed responsibility for the fire outbreak at the gas plant of Warri Refinery on Tuesday.
The implication of this is that it signals the re-emergence of militancy in the Niger Delta which has been put under control through the Amnesty Programme by the Federal Government for repentant militants.
At the peak of militancy in the creeks in 2009, crude oil exports which is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy was seriously affected as crude sales dropped to below 50 per cent turnover resulted in significance decline in revenues for the three tiers of government.
Nigeria currently produces about 2.4 million barrels per day and if the resurgence of militancy is not tamed, the country may suffer decline in revenue and further impoverish the masses.