Wed, 15 Jul 2020

A Greek oil tanker captain and seven crew members kidnapped last month from a Cameroon port have been released, Greek officials said on Wednesday.

Five Greeks, including the captain, two Filipinos and a Ukrainian were snatched by an armed group December 30 from the Happy Lady tanker in the port of Limbe near Cameroon's economic capital Douala.

"I am delighted with the release of five Greek sailors. Our coordinated efforts have been effective," said Greek Merchant Marine Minister Giannis Plakiotakis said on his Twitter account.

A ministry statement said the eight sailors were released "after negotiations".

The Gulf of Guinea, stretching 5 700km from Senegal to Angola, is the new world epicentre of piracy and kidnappings for ransom, especially along the Nigerian coast.

Pirates often divert ships for days, long enough to steal cargo and demand huge ransoms before freeing the crew.

From January to September last year, 82% of maritime kidnappings in the world occurred in the Gulf of Guinea, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

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