Americans Kidnapped from Supply Boat Offshore Nigeria, Victim’s Family Interviewed
By Rob Almeida On October 24, 2013
PSV C-Retriever, image via Christian/Shipspotting
“Things are definitely getting more intense here,” remarked one of our sources working offshore Nigeria this afternoon.
A security boat manned with Joint Task Force (JTF) Nigeria personnel was allegedly attacked by militants this morning off Nigeria.
According to one of our sources, all JTF personnel were killed and their weapons taken by the militants.
“This is the second attack on a security boat in the past three days,” our source adds.
Additional gCaptain sources also indicate that the Edison Chouest-owned, US-flagged platform supply vessel C-Retriever was working in a nearby field off Brass, Nigeria and was also attacked, an incident that our sources indicate was unrelated to the attack on the JTF personnel. Our source notes that the Captain and Chief Engineer, who are both US citizens, were kidnapped. A very close family friend of the Chief Engineer (who identified himself as his brother, but whos name is withheld at his request) confirmed with us that the FBI is working on the case.
In a phone conversation with the friend of the engineer, Edison Chouest explained to them that 90 percent of the kidnap victims were returned to their families in good health and that the kidnappers had not yet contacted the company. Typically, first contact is made within 7 to 10 days, and the final “transaction” where the ransom is paid and person released happens in about a month.
The friend notes that the kidnap victim is a huge Gator fan, enjoys riding motorcycles, and has a huge heart. In fact, he mentioned that one time he gave $2,000 to a total stranger after someone stole her Christmas tree and all her presents.
We have reached out to Edison Chouest for official comment, but they have not yet returned our phone call or emails.
A State Department official commented in an emailed statement saying, “We are closely monitoring reports that two U.S. citizens have been kidnapped from a U.S.-flagged vessel, the C-RETRIEVER, in the Gulf of Guinea. We are seeking additional information about the incident.”
In an emailed note this morning from CBS News, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has reportedly taken responsibility for the attack and are holding the two Americans captive, however as other news agencies we’ve talked to this morning note, these militant groups can really say whatever they want and it’s not necessarily the truth.
The following is a graphic of the vessel tracking data for the C-Retriever which was obtained via vessel tracking provider, PortVision.com. The circled position indicates the vessel’s last known position, which was recorded at 2243 CDT on 22 October.
Image via PortVision, click for larger