Pirates have raided a cargo ship of a German shipping company off the coast of Cameroon and kidnapped several sailors. As the Hamburg-based company MC-Schiffahrt writes on its homepage, the pirates came aboard the MarMalaita in the night of Thursday, which was anchored in the megacity Duala. They would have taken eight of the twelve crew members.

Three of the abductees are Russians, according to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow. Whether Germans are among the victims, was initially unclear.

The shipping company continued to write that they have put together a crisis team and do their utmost to solve the case in cooperation with the authorities. "Our thoughts are with the affected families, and we will do everything we can to support them until their seafarers return home safely." According to the shipping company, the 140-meter-long multi-purpose ship travels under the flag of Antigua and Barbuda.

Within a few hours, 17 people are kidnapped

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said there have been pirate raids on two ships off the Cameroon coast in recent days. In addition to the German ship was a Greek in the waters off the Cameroonian city of Douala was attacked. In total, 17 people were abducted within a few hours. The IMF records incidents and data on crime on the seas. It issued a warning to all ships on the coast off Douala.

Cameroonian authorities confirmed the kidnapping of a total of 17 sailors. According to data from Cameroonian naval circles, it is presumed to be eight Ukrainians and nine Chinese. Which of them were on the German ship, initially remained unclear.

The naval circles also said the kidnappers were "probably Nigerian pirates." Cameroon forces searched for the perpetrators, it said.

According to IMB, the West African Gulf of Guinea has become an international hotbed of pirate attacks in recent years. Of the total of 75 seafarers taken hostage in the first half of this year, 62 were abducted in the Gulf of Guinea. Mostly there are ransom demands. According to the Foreign Office, there is also a high risk of kidnapping in many regions of Cameroon.

The shipping company MC-Schiffahrt was founded in 1986 in Hamburg. Accordingly, 33 employees are employed in Hamburg, and around 400 employees work at sea.