Experts believe ransom could be demanded for sailors abducted in Nigeria

Experts are optimistic about the fate of sailors from the Bourbon Liberty 249 tugboat, who were abducted by unidentified people in Nigeria on Wednesday, and expect that they might soon be freed for ransom or otherwise.

"The attackers are unknown. Hostages are most often taken by militants from the "Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta," who presumably pursue solely political motives. However, ordinary thugs also occasionally take hostages for ransom and sometimes resell captured sailors to the Movement," the Maritime Bulletin website reported.

"All such kidnaps have so far ended up without casualties in the past years," it says.

"Hostages have been released following negotiations, and the terms and conditions of their release have almost always remained unknown. But what counts most, the people have been released, and no one has so far died or been killed," it says.

The kidnapped sailors are unlikely to be held for more than a month, it says.

"This story could last several days or could take several weeks, but it is unlikely to continue for more than a month," Maritime Bulletin says.

It was reported earlier that the Bourbon Liberty 249 owned by Bourbon Offshore SAS, France, was hijacked by unidentified pirates in Nigerian territorial waters not far from Brass on Oct. 15. The vessel was servicing offshore drilling rigs near the southern coast of Nigeria.

Russia's Charge d'Affaires to Nigeria Valery Shaposhnikov earlier confirmed to Interfax that six Russian and one Estonian sailor was abducted from one of Bourbon tugboats. Maritime Bulletin said five Russians and one Estonian were abducted, while the other 9 crew members managed to escape the attack unharmed.

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