Thai crewman kidnapped by pirates safe condition: FM

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BANGKOK, Aug 8 – Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul on Wednesday said a Thai crewman kidnapped by pirates who hijacked his ship off the Nigerian coast is now safe and the government is cooperating with concerned nations seeking his release.

The foreign minister remarked about the Thai who was among four kidnapped crew from the Dutch-based STG housing barge Jascon 33 which was attacked by gunmen in the Gulf of Guinea, 60km off the Nigerian coast on Saturday.

Twenty seven people were reportedly on the barge, including seven expatriate workers. STG, which provides support vessels to oil companies operating in Nigeria, confirmed that four nationals from Thailand, Indonesia, Iran, and Malaysia on its staff were kidnapped, two security guards were wounded and two Nigerian sailors were killed.

The Thai embassy in Abuja, Nigeria, coordinated with the ship owner and was informed that the company has spoken with all the kidnapped crew and all were in safe condition, according to the minister.

Mr Surapong said further details could not be revealed as it is a sensitive issue and suggested that media attention could endanger the hostages.

“I have instructed the Thai embassy in Nigeria to coordinate with the ASEAN embassies including those of Malaysia and Indonesia to seek help from the Nigerian government for the safe release of the held crewmen,” said Mr Surapong.

Mr Surapong also referred to the hijacking of an STG ship by pirates last September. A Thai national was then held as hostage and it took a month for the employer to gain release of the kidnapped crewman.