Pirates attacked MV Glarus, a Swiss merchant vessel travelling Nigerian waters between Lagos and Port Harcourt, and abducted 12 crew members on Saturday, September 22, 2018.

According to Massoel Shipping, the ship's operator, pirates boarded the ship and abducted the crew around 45 nautical miles south west of Bonny Island.

"It is understood the pirate gang boarded the Glarus by means of long ladders and cut the razor wire on deck to gain access to the vessel and eventually the bridge.

"Having destroyed much of the vessel's communications equipment, the criminal gang departed, taking 12 of the 19 crew complement as hostage.

"The company is working with the authorities and specialists to secure the speedy and safe release of those being held," Massoel'sstatement read.

While Massoel Shipping refused to reveal the nationality of the abducted victims, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has disclosed that seven of them are from the Philippines while the other five are nationalities of Slovenia, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia and Bosnia.

In a statement signed by the agency's Head, Maritime Safety and Seafarers Standards Department, Sunday Umoren, on Sunday, September 23, the victims are still missing.

Kidnapping foreigners for ransom in Nigeria is commonplace especially in the Niger Delta region and officials expect that a ransom demand will be made soon.

Massoel hires team to secure abducted crew's freedom

According to the Slovenian foreign ministry, Massoel has engaged a team to secure the release of the 12 kidnap victims.

In a brief statement on Monday, September 24, the ministry said, "Massoel Shipping has engaged a professionally qualified team authorised to handle the matter."

Croatia's foreign ministry also told SeeNews that it is in constant contact with the crisis management of the Swiss foreign ministry and Massoel.