Kidnappings have become increasingly common off Nigeria.

Gunmen free foursome

Four seafarers who taken hostage during an attack on a German containership off Nigeria a month ago have been released unharmed.

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The operator of the 1,740-teu Hansa Marburg (built 2007), Leonhardt & Blumberg, says the Ukrainian, Russian and Kiribati nationals are “safe and in good spirits” following 31 days in captivity.

In a statement the company thanked the family members of the men for their “patience and courage” and praised the government agencies that assisted in bringing what it described as a “difficult situation” to a close.

The Hamburg-based shipmanager did not indicate whether a ransom was paid, which may not come as a surprise given concerns that such information could encourage further criminal acts of this kind in a region where incidents of armed kidnappings are on the rise.

The Hansa Marburg, which according to the Equasis database is owned by a German KG (limited partnership), was boarded by gunmen on 22 April some 130 miles south-west of Malabo in Equatorial Guinea.

As we reported the vessel and 14 other crewmembers who were on board during the late night raid escaped unscathed.

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