Pirates have kidnapped six crew members, including the captain, from a ship owned by German-based Peter Döhle Schiffahrts off the coast of southern Nigeria.

Ukraine’s foreign ministry and the Philippines’ department of labour told Reuters that one of the abducted individuals is Ukrainian, while four are Filipino nationals.

One Hungarian national is also among the crew members kidnapped during the recent incident.

The remaining 12 individuals on-board the vessel were reported safe and their nationalities have not been disclosed due to security reasons.

No formal contact is reported to have been established with the kidnappers to date.

The Liberia-flagged, Peter Döhle Schiffahrts vessel involved in the incident is known as Demeter. It sailed away from Nigerian waters to safer territory following the attack.

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“The vessel was attacked by pirates on early Saturday morning when it was approaching one of the ports of Nigeria.”

A Peter Döhle Schiffahrts spokesman was quoted by the news agency as saying: “The vessel was attacked by pirates on early Saturday morning when it was approaching one of the ports of Nigeria.

“Six of the crew were taken off the ship and they are now held by kidnappers in Nigeria.”

According to Sea Guardian consultancy, Demeter was en route from Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, to the Liberian capital Monrovia when it came head to head with the kidnappers.

Eight pirates were said to have then approached Demeter in a black speedboat and are believed to have been involved in the attack, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Nigerian waters have gained a reputation for being unsafe for travellers in recent years and the region is recognised as a centre of kidnapping incidents for ransom.