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Polish Sailors Kidnapped off Nigeria Freed

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By MarEx 2015-12-09 10:00:15

The Polish crew of a cargo vessel kidnapped last month off the Nigerian coast are safe and on their way home, Poland's Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said on Tuesday.

"Everything ended happily. The sailors are safe and sound, we are glad that they are coming back to their families," Szydlo said at a televised news conference.

Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski thanked Nigerian authorities and the operator of the vessel, EuroAfrica, for their co-operation in efforts to free the crew.

Pirates attacked the Cyprus-registered Szafir cargo vessel at the end of November and kidnapped its captain and four crew.

The Szafir was en route from Antwerp to Port Harcourt with a load of cranes and other items. In addition to the kidnapping, the pirates looted the vessel's accommodations.

This was the second major attack on a commercial vessel near Nigeria within a month. Pirates kidnapped four crewmembers of a Comoros-flagged vessel off Port Harcourt in late October; two were released November 16.

Only eleven attacks on merchant vessels near Nigeria were reported in the first half of 2015, down by half from 2013, but Nigerian pirates have also been implicated in recent attacks off the coasts of other West African nations.