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MOSCOW, March 6. /TASS/. Moscow expresses gratitude to all who helped have Russian sailors kidnapped in Nigeria released, the Russian foreign ministry said on Monday.
"Russian citizens, crew members of the BBC Caribbean cargo ship owned by a German company who were abducted in Nigeria’s territorial waters on February 5 were released on March 4," the ministry said. "By now, they have left Nigeria for Russia. They are in satisfactory condition."
"Russian diplomats were in close contact with representatives of the ship owner and Nigerian law enforcement agencies and maintained telephone contacts with the abducted men," the ministry said.
"Moscow expresses gratitude to all who helped release the Russian citizens," the ministry added.
According to earlier reports, the general cargo ship The BBC Caribbean, owned by Germany’s Briese Schiffahrt company, came under an attack by pirates in Nigeria’s territorial waters on February 5. Eight crew members - seven Russians (three of them from Sevastopol) and one Ukrainian - were taken hostage. Three crew members who remained on the ship - the chief engineer, the second mate and a cadet - managed to escape from the pirates and maneuvered the ship towards Las Palmas, Spain. Later, they returned to Russia.
The Russian embassy in Nigeria earlier confirmed the release of the seven Russian sailors. According to human right ombudsman in Sevastopol Pavel Butsai, the sailors were released for a ransom, the sum of which is kept secret.