Nigerian pirates attacked the US oil supply ship C-Retriever and took 2 Americans in hostage.After a pirate assault on a US flagged ship in Nigerian waters two US citizens were kidnapped. The information was confirmed by American diplomats. Reuters informed that C-Retriever an oil supply ship was attacked by pirates in the Guinean Gulf in the early hours on Wednesday. Another source announced that the pirates captured the chief engineer and the captain.
Nigerian navy and Nigerian army began a rescue operation on Thursday afternoon but they still haven't recovered any information. The spokesman of the Nigerian Navy said the Americans were kidnapped in the delta by criminals who are not part of any organized military force and confirmed that Nigerians are searching everywhere around the coast.
C-Retriever is owned by a company headquartered in Louisiana - Edison Chouest Offshore. The company made no comments at the very beginning of the crisis.
At the moment there are no US military ships in the Gulf of Guinea and no rescue operation has been planned yet but still, due to an exchange program a contingent of US Marines is on a Dutch military ship.
Marie Harf from the State Department announced that US authorities are "seeking additional information about the incident, so that we may contribute to safely resolving the situation. Obviously our concern at this point is for the safe return of the two U.S. Citizen". Marie Harf confirmed that the assault was made by pirates and that no more information could be shared in regard of hostages security.
US Navy had taken actions to liberate American citizens earlier in April 2009. Three Somalian pirates were shot by SEAL snipers in the operation for the rescue of the captain of and US commercial vessel Richard Phillips. The captain had shown a great deal of nobility suggesting to the pirates to keep only him in captivity and to leave the other members of the crew in exchange.
Phillips' story got so popular that even a film was made with Tom Hanks taking his role. The film made more than $52 million at the box office only for the first two weeks.
According to Alistar Galloway from the security company Endeavour Maritime there are differences between Somalian and West African pirates. While Somalian pirates are mainly poor fishermen and citizens trying to improve their lives the pirates in West Africa are part of criminal organizations with strong positions in their countries. These organizations try to take advantage of the increased marine traffic in the region, consequent to the oil boom in the area.
Johan Potgeiger, from the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa finds also a social moment in West African piracy
"They feel that if the government won’t share its wealth equally, they will take it for themselves by other means."
View Larger Map