(QHA) - Pirates have seized the Althea, a chemical tanker with 18 crewmembers on board, including 17 Ukrainians and a Greek, off the coast of Nigeria, the press service of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has reported, according to Ukrinform. "According to the Ukrainian Embassy in Nigeria, on December 16 this year, off the coast of Nigeria, pirates attacked the Althea, an oil tanker with 18 crewmembers on board, among them 17 Ukrainians and a Greek. The pirates, after climbing on board, broke communications equipment, took away the crew's cell phones and personal things, took hostage the captain of the ship (a Ukrainian citizen) and an engineer (a Greek), and disappeared on a motorboat in the direction of the coast of Nigeria," reads the statement. It also notes that physical force was not used during the attack. "The rest of the crewmembers were not injured, and there is no threat to their life and health. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, the Ukrainian embassies in Nigeria and Greece, in cooperation with the company owning the ship and Nigerian competent authorities, are taking measures find out where the hostages are held and release them," the Foreign Ministry said. The tanker was attacked at night, about 35 nautical miles from the Niger Delta oilfield. The operator of the vessel, Medtankers Management (Piraeus, Greece), confirmed the attack and that two crewmembers had been kidnapped.

QHA