MOSCOW, April 21. /TASS/. The Tommi Ritscher container ship, flying the Portuguese flag, was seized by unidentified people off the coast of Benin, the Dryad Global service, which deals with maritime navigation safety issues, reported on Monday night.
According to the organization, the ship’s multinational crew includes citizens of Russia, Ukraine, The Philippines and Bulgaria. 11 crew members managed to hide in a special reinforced cabin, while eight were presumably captured by the attackers.
According to Dryad Global, the Nigerian authorities have sent a patrol boat to the ship. The demands of the attackers are yet unknown.
The Russian Embassy in Benin and Togo remains in contact with the Benin Navy and the administration of the Cotonou port about the incident.
"About 7-8 crew members are held hostage on board, and Russians may be among them. The embassy, on its part, is verifying this information," the embassy said on its Facebook page. "The embassy follows the development of the situation and maintains a close working contact with the naval command of Benin and the administration of the Cotonou city port."
According to diplomats, the vessel is currently blocked by patrol boats of the Benin Navy in the country’s territorial waters. Presumably, the ship was seized by pirates.