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VLADIVOSTOK, March 26 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian captain of the motorship Breeze Clipper Viktor Pikus and chief engineer of the ship Vyacheslav Melnikov, who were released from pirate captivity in Nigeria, flied back to Moscow, deputy chairman of the Pacific regional branch of the Russian Trade Union of Sailors Valery Berezinsky said on Monday.
The sailors were captured by Nigerian pirates on February 28 and were released on March 23 as a result of long negotiations through a mediator.
Captain Pikus, who worked in the Far East for a long time, lives in Moscow now. Chief engineer Melnikov is a resident of Vladivostok. The company, which hired them for the work onboard the Breeze Clipper, is planning to send the sailors for rehabilitation courses at a holiday home, Berezinsky said.
Armed pirates captured the motorship Breeze Clipper on February 28, when the ship was anchored in the harbour of Port Harcourt. The bandits got closely to the motorship in a small boat and opened fire at the ship, then got aboard the motorship, searched through it and seized all precious things from the crewmen. Leaving the motorship the pirates took hostage the captain, the chief engineer, an injured Filipino motorist and escaped. The Breeze Clipper crew was made up of citizens of Russia, Ukraine and Philippines.