Turkey, Africa

Kidnapped Turkish sailors rescued after pirate attack

Increased precautions are necessary to avoid future incidents, says Turkish foreign minister

Yunus Turk, Mehmet Sah Yilmaz and Gokhan Varan   | 12.02.2021
Kidnapped Turkish sailors rescued after pirate attack


All 15 remaining crew members of the Liberian-flagged ship the Mozart were rescued Friday after the cargo vessel had fallen victim to a pirate attack off Nigeria, two involved maritime companies announced.

Borealis Maritime and Boden Maritime stated that the entire crew was now safe in contact with their families, adding that they would return to Turkey as soon as possible.

"We thank the Turkish and Nigerian governments for their support during these challenging three weeks, all government agencies and officials, the entire Borealis community working on the land and at sea, and everyone who helped us solve this problem," the statement said.

The statement also expressed the firms' condolences for one crew member who lost his life during the attack, while commending three others who remained on board for their courage and discipline in bringing the ship back to a secure area.

It added that another statement would be issued once the released personnel return to their families.

Separately, Turkey's foreign minister said the crew members were in good health and would be brought to Turkey from Nigeria's capital Abuja by flag carrier Turkish Airlines.

Mevlut Cavusoglu told TRT Haber, Turkey's state-run news channel, that ships sailing in the area needed to take additional security measures.

Noting that after this incident, efforts had been launched to increase the intelligence precautions to prevent such incidents, Cavusoglu underlined that cooperation would be necessary to prevent these events in the future.

"Though we saved our citizens, Turkey will provide the necessary support to avoid these incidents."

Also, Cavusoglu spoke by phone with the families of the crew members, according to diplomatic sources.

In a separate statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the 15 Turkish nationals were at a safe point and had undergone medical examinations.

It added that they would be transferred from Nigeria to Turkey as soon as possible.

In cooperation with maritime companies, a team from the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) was sent to the field, it said, adding that developments were being followed in real-time.

Family rejoice at news

The family of Gokhan Burhan, one of the rescued sailors, rejoiced at the news.

Nadire Burhan, the sailor's wife, thanked Cavusoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"I'm very happy, thousands of thanks to God. I thank everyone for their help [...] I'm speechless with delight," she said.

Counting the hours to see his son, Burhan's father said: "We received very good news. I hope God will bring my child to us soon."

In a pirate attack on Jan. 23, 15 of the Mozart's 19 crew members were abducted, while one of them, an Azerbaijani national, was killed.

The vessel was managed by Borealis Maritime, a firm based in London and Hamburg, Germany

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