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PRETORIA, October 18 (Itar-Tass) — Russian seamen have been kidnapped in Nigeria from the American company Chevron's oil producing platform, says a report posted on the website of the leading Nigerian newspaper "This Day" on Thursday.
Commenting on the seizure of six citizens of Russia and one of Estonia on Wednesday, the paper quotes a statement by Lieutenant Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, a spokesman for the combined group of the armed forces and police for the insurance of security in the Niger River Delta, that the incident had occurred at the Pennington platform in Nigeria's main oil production zone on the coastal shelf of the Niger River Delta.
The seamen, who found themselves captured by terrorists, worked aboard the ship "Bourbon Liberty 249"of the French Bourbon Oil International Company which specializes in bringing supplies to offshore platforms. So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the seamen's kidnapping.
The attack on the seamen was made off the coast of Bayelsa State. According to This Day newspaper, the military have already mounted an operation to comb coastal terrain. All in all, there were 15 people on board the Bourbon Liberty 249. Eight of them managed to avoid kidnapping. Law enforcement forces brought them to the port of Onne, Rivers State.
The Paris-based Bourbon Company engages in the servicing and transportation of oil producing platforms. Last year, its income amounted to more than 1,000 million Euros. The Niger Delta and adjacent areas are reckoned most dangerous in Nigeria. Armed groups, operating there for many years, practice an unlawful off-take of oil from pipelines, and kidnapping of foreigners for the purpose of gaining a ransom.
The Bourbon personnel were attacked by criminals in October 2008 when ten of personnel members were captured near the border of Nigeria and Cameroun, as well as in January 2009 when nine people were seized by bandits off the southern shores of Nigeria, and in September 2010 when three French specialists were kidnapped from an oil platform.