Negotiations are under way to secure the release of three Esther C crew held on shore in the Gulf of Guinea after pirates hijacked the vessel on February 7, say reports from West Africa.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told the press: “Talks are currently being held with the kidnappers through a company hired by the shipowner, which specialises in such issues. There has been a confirmation that all the hostages are alive.”
The 2008-built, 8,063 dwt general cargoship was in international waters in the south of the Gulf of Guinea, off Cameroon, when pirates boarded, taking two Russians and a Romanian hostage. At the time, owner Carisbrooke said: “The safety and wellbeing of these seafarers is the company’s absolute priority and all possible steps to secure their return are being taken.
“The nine crew members remaining on board the vessel are reported to be safe and well. Families of all crew members have been contacted and are being kept informed of the situation. All the appropriate authorities have been informed and are assisting.”
Today Carisbrooke declined to comment, however, citing the “process and dialogue underway to hopefully enable the safe release of the crew”.