File picture: Dimitris Vetsikas/Pixabay

Johannesburg –Ten Turkish sailors have been taken hostage by pirates after their cargo ship was stormed off the coast of Nigeria.

The vessel’s owner Ahmet Paksoy told CNN on Wednesday that the pirates had disrupted the ship’s electric system before seizing the captain and other senior sailors, leaving only eight crew members behind who subsequently managed to sail the ship to a harbour in Ghana under military escort.

It is suspected that ransom may be behind the abductions. However the attackers have yet to contact the company Kadioglu Denizcilik demanding such.

"The pirates have not contacted us yet. We are waiting for them to contact us. When we look at the previous cases it may take some time," said Paksoy.

Interpol, the Turkish foreign ministry and Turk intelligence are working with the crew members who were not abducted.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said in a recent report that the Gulf of Guinea is a piracy hotspot with the seas around West Africa the world’s most dangerous for piracy.

In the first half of 2019, 27 crew members were kidnapped by armed pirates off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon compared with 25 in the same period in 2018, the report said.

However, the Nigerian navy has been praised by IMB for its prompt response to cases of sea piracy by dispatching patrol boats.

African News Agency (ANA)