One sailor dead, 15 kidnapped in pirate attack on Turkish ship

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One crew member has been killed and 15 others kidnapped when pirates stormed a Turkish cargo ship that had a crew of 19 off the coast of Guinea, according to a statement. 

According to a written statement by David Johnson, head of EOS Risk Group, the ship, named M/V Mozart, which was traveling from Lagos to Cape Town, was sailing 100 sea miles northwest of the African island country Sao Tome when pirates boarded the ship. 

Fifteen crew members moving from Lagos, Nigeria to Cape Town, South Africa were kidnapped, one was killed, while three remained onboard, David Johnson, the head of the UK-based EOS Risk Group said in the statement. 

The crew member who was killed was an Azerbaijani sailor.

A tape recording shared on Twitter and believed to be belonging to the 4th captain of the ship says: "I don't know where I'm going. The pirates dismantled all cables, nothing is working. Only the navigator works. They gave me a route, I'm moving accordingly." 

According to Turkey's Communications Directorate, President Erdogan held two phone conversations with Furkan Yaren, the 4th captain in the ship. 

Erdogan was told that the ship is sailing toward Gabon with three crew members inside. 

Erdogan also stated that he is closely following the situation.

Turkey launches initiative

According to information obtained from diplomatic sources, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke to Yaren and received information from him regarding the incident and situation on the ship.

Cavusoglu also spoke to the business manager of the company the ship belongs to and offered condolences and assured him that steps necessary to rescue the kidnapped crew will be taken. 

The foreign minister also offered condolences to Azerbaijani FM Jeyhun Bayramov for the death of the Azerbaijani citizen.

Cavusoglu told him that when the ship lands at the port, they will transfer the Azerbaijani sailor's body home.

Turkey mobilized all means through its embassies in the region to rescue the kidnapped crew.

Kidnappings and piracy for ransom in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea are common. A similar attack occurred in 2019 when a Turkish cargo ship was attacked by Nigerian pirates, and 10 sailors, all Turkish nationals, were taken hostage for ransom. Later, all sailors were released.

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