Pirates took 12 foreign seafarers hostage and shot dead a crew member of German-flagged cargo ship BBC Palonia off the coast of Nigeria’s restive and oil-rich Niger Delta.

Police spokeswoman Rita Abbey said the attack took place near Bonny River in the Bonny Fairbouy, few nautical miles from Bonny jetty and attempt by the seamen to resist the pirates led to the death of one Ukrainian sailor last night.

“The crew is eastern European. One has been confirmed shot dead while others were taken hostage. Nigerian Navy has already deployed from Bonny to investigate,” Ms. Abbey told PTI.

Also, Navy spokesman Commodore David Nabaida said that Nigerian navy ship arrived at the scene and escorted the attacked ship to safe waters from where an injured person was taken to a nearby hospital for medical care.

Mr. Nabaida gave the nationality of the sailors as Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania and Germany and said that the Nigerian navy was working hard to track down the pirates.

No group has taken responsibility for the attack.

Pirates’ activities off the coast of oil-rich Niger Delta has increased in last few years.

An amnesty programme by the West African country’s government in which the militants could exchange their arms for some monetary compensation was delayed due to the ill health of former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who died in May.

The ex-militants took to the streets last month to demonstrate their perceived neglect by the government.

His successor President Goodluck Jonathan promised to carry on with the amnesty and recently brought in some foreigners to train the militants to become useful members of the society.

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