Kidnapped crew of Tommi Ritscher freed

The eight crew members of Tommi Ritscher containership, who were kidnapped by a group of pirates on April 19, 2020 while the vessel was within the Cotonou anchorage area, West Africa, have been freed, AFP reports.

Crew members are understood to be Ukrainian, Bulgarian and Filipino.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation confirmed that the three Russian crew members of the containership, first mate A. Sigunov, chief engineer S. Zaitsev and electrical engineer V. Suprun – were freed on May 23.

“Later that day, the Russian diplomatic mission in Abuja helped them board a charter flight from Lagos to Frankfurt-am-Main, from which they will return to Russia. The seamen’s medical condition has been assessed as satisfactory,” the ministry said.

The information was also confirmed by Bulgarian Foreign Affairs Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, who said on social media that the Bulgarian captain of the vessel, was freed and on his way home.

To remind, the 4,957 TEU ship was approached by a speedboat and a number of persons managed to board the ship, according to Dryad Global.

11 crew members of the Portuguese-flagged containership managed to flee to the citadel, after pirates attacked the ship, while the remaining eight were unaccounted for and were kidnapped as confirmed shortly after.

Nigerian Special Forces boarded Tommi Ritscher and rescued 11 crew members from the citadel.