PIRATES have boarded a vessel belonging to an Isle of Wight shipping company and taken three crew members hostage.
A cargo ship owned by Carisbrooke Shipping, based in Cowes, was targeted on Thursday evening while in international waters in the Gulf of Guinea, off Africa's west coast.
Pirates boarded the MV Esther C, stole personal possessions and took three crew members hostage when they departed the ship, according to a statement posted yesterday (Friday) on the company's website.
Two of the hostages are Russian, according to the Reuters news agency.
"The safety and well being of these seafarers is the company's absolute priority and all possible steps to secure their return are being taken," said the statement.
"The nine crew members remaining on board the vessel are reported to be safe and well. Families of all crew members have been contacted and are being kept informed of the situation.
"All the appropriate authorities have been informed and are assisting.
"The MV Esther C is under full command and has resumed passage. Another Carisbrooke vessel is preparing to rendezvous with her within 24 hours to provide support and assistance."
*Carisbrooke Shipping today (Saturday) confirmed two Russians and a Romanian crew member were taken hostage. The other nine crew members are Filipino.