October 25th, 2013
07:09 AM ET

Pirates Kidnap Two U.S. Citizens

Armed men stormed a boat off Nigeria's coast and took hostage two mariners believed to be U.S. citizens, a U.S. official said Thursday.

Pirates kidnapped the captain and chief engineer from a U.S.-flagged oil platform supply vessel in the Gulf of Guinea on Wednesday, the official said.

Details about the crew members' conditions and the condition of their ship, the C-Retriever, were not immediately available.

Louisiana-based Edison Chouest Offshore, which owns the vessel, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Travel by sea can be perilous in the region where the attack occurred, one analyst said Thursday.

"The danger there is extreme," said Capt. Don Marcus, president of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots.

“Still no public word on the fate or location of the two Americans captured, not even yet, a public announcement of their names, reports CNN’s Barbara Starr.

CNN National Security Analyst Fran Townsend breaks down the known details and piracy on the high seas. (SEE VIDEO BELOW)

Townsend says, “30% of the oil that comes from the region going to the United States comes along that coast. And so what shippers try to do is have sort of controls on the ship to be able to avoid being taken over. But it's sort of an inevitable sort of risk in the business.”


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