1 Killed as Pirates Attack Cargo Vessel off Nigerian Coast, Turkey’s Military Plans Rescue Operation 

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Pirates on Saturday attacked a Turkish cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria, kidnapping 15 sailors and killing one, according to Al Jazeera reports.

 

The report said Turkey’s military was planning a rescue operation for the surviving crew members.

 

Quoting Turkey’s Maritime Directorate, the report said the crew initially locked themselves in a safe area but the pirates forced entry after six hours.

 

It said during the struggle, one crew member on board the M/V Mozart died. Turkish media identified the victim as engineer Farman Ismayilov of Azerbaijan, the only non-Turkish crew member.

 

The Liberian-flagged Mozart was sailing from Lagos, Nigeria, to Cape Town in South Africa when it was attacked 100 nautical miles (185km) northwest of the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe on Saturday morning.

 

The pirates disabled most of the ship’s systems, leaving only the navigation system for the remaining crew to find their way to port, according to Al Jazeera.

 

Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke to his Azerbaijani counterpart to offer condolences and said the body of the crew member would be transferred when the Mozart reaches port

 

Reuters, quoting Turkey’s state-run Anadolu agency, said three crew members remained aboard the Turkish vessel after the attack on Saturday morning as the pirates kidnapped 15 others while one was killed. The ship, abandoned by the pirates and now headed toward Gabon’s coast, initially had a full crew of 19.

Turkish media cited Istanbul-based ship owner Boden company as saying the owners and operators of the vessel were abducted at gunpoint.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spoke twice by phone with Furkan Yaren, one of the captains who remained on the ship, his office said, adding he directed officials on the rescue mission for the other kidnapped personnel.

Anadolu Agency cited Yaren as saying he was “cruising blindly” toward Gabon with only the ship’s radar working. It was to arrive Sunday morning.

Yaren was alsobcited as saying the pirates beat crew members, and left him with an injured leg while another still aboard the ship had shrapnel wounds.

 

“The owners and operators of the M/V Mozart, which was hijacked at gunpoint in the Gulf of Guinea, have regretfully confirmed that one of its crew has been killed and others abducted,” Istanbul-based Boden Maritime said in a statement.

 

The Gulf of Guinea – off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon – is the most dangerous sea in the world because of piracy, according to the International Maritime Bureau.