Report: Turkish sailors kidnapped by pirates have been freed

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Fifteen Turkish crew members of a cargo ship who were kidnapped by pirates last month off west Africa have been freed, a shipping company announced Friday.

Boden Denizcilik said all 15 seamen were safe and had made contact with their families. They would be flown back to Turkey as soon as possible, it said.

The company did not provide details on their release and it was not known if a ransom was paid.

The state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying they would be brought back to Turkey, from Abuja, Nigeria on board a Turkish Airlines flight.

The Liberian-flagged M/V Mozart was sailing from Lagos, Nigeria, to Cape Town, South Africa, when it was attacked on Jan. 23 about 100 nautical miles (185 kilometers) northwest of the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe.

One crew member, an Azerbaijani national, died during the attack. Three other Turkish sailors who avoided being kidnapped, returned to Turkey last month.

The Gulf of Guinea, off the coasts of Nigeria, Guinea, Togo, Benin and Cameroon, is the most dangerous sea in the world for piracy, according to the International Maritime Bureau.

In July 2019, 10 Turkish seamen were kidnapped off the coast of Nigeria. They were released less than a month later.

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