Africa

Polish sailors kidnapped from Szafir cargo ship off Nigeria

Coast guard officers sit in a speed boat during a patrol, at the port of Abidjan, in 2012 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nigeria's coast guard is working to deter piracy, which is common off the country's shores

Five Polish sailors have been abducted from a ship off the coast of Nigeria.

Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said the men - including a captain and three officers - were kidnapped on Thursday night from the cargo ship Szafir.

Pirates boarded the vessel as it travelled from Belgium to Nigeria, according to Polish media reports.

Eleven other sailors evaded capture, apparently by locking themselves in the engine room.

Mr Waszczykowski said they were safe and their ship had been located about 30 nautical miles off the coast of Nigeria. The exact location has not been reported.

The foreign minister told a news conference on Friday that the kidnappers had not yet established contact.

There is widespread concern about the rise in piracy off West Africa.

The Szafir, owned by the shipping company EuroAfrica, was carrying metal and other items, according to Reuters news agency.

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