In what sounds like a eerie a repeat of one the biggest movies of the moment, pirates have seized an oil vessel off the coast of Africa and kidnapped its captain. The difference is that it was not the Somali pirates that you're used to hearing about, but Nigerians who attacked the boat off the western side of the continent on Wednesday. They also took two hostages, instead of just one, grabbing the ship's captain and its chief engineer. Both men are reportedly American citizens and their boat is registered under the U.S. flag.
No ransom demands have been made and no rescue attempt is imminent, according the NBC News. However, it is believed that kidnappers will likely attempt to collect some kind of ransom for their safe return.
The circumstances of this kidnapping will, of course, be familiar to anyone who has seen Captain Phillips, the Tom Hanks movie that is currently raking in dough at the theaters and getting serious Oscar buzz. The film is based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillips, who was kidnapped by pirates from Somalia in 2009, after the
oil tanker container ship he was captaining was seized by four men. Phillips himself recently warned in an interview that the Nigerian coastline has become more dangerous for merchant marines than Somalia's.
The Nigerian pirates probably didn't see that movie (and the spoiler alerts), or they might have thought twice about attacking an American ship. Phillips was rescued by a team of Navy Seals who killed three of his four captors, and put the fourth in an American prison. The Nigerian navy (pictured above with a recently-seized band of pirates) has been also been enforcing its own crackdown of late, killing 12 pirates in a showdown in August. Everyone is surely hoping that it won't come to that, and the two hostages will make it home without incident.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.