Twenty Indians on board a commercial vessel were kidnapped by pirates from the high seas off the western coast of Africa on Sunday and the government has taken up the issue with Nigerian authorities, officials said.
The incident comes 10 days after 18 Indians on board a Hong Kong-flagged vessel were kidnapped by pirates near the Nigerian coast.
"We are concerned by the kidnapping of 20 Indian crew members (as reported by the shipping agency) from the vessel MT Duke in the high seas off the western coast of Africa on December 15," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
He said it was the third such incident in the region this year, affecting Indian nationals.
"Our mission in Abuja has taken up the matter with the Nigerian authorities, as also with the authorities of the neighbouring countries," Kumar said.
"The safety of hostages is paramount and we continue to engage with Nigerian authorities and other stakeholders closely on the recent incidents," he said.