News BlogWest Africa - Sahelmaritime piracy

The sailors of the Szafir liberated. A ransom paid

(B2) The five Polish sailors from the szafir, kidnapped on November 27, have been released, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo announced at a press conference in Warsaw on Tuesday (December 8), thanking the Nigerian authorities, Polish consular staff and the owner. The captain, the 3 officers and a sailor were repatriated immediately. The sailors were repatriated the next day. They landed in Hamburg on Wednesday from where they left for Szczecin, the Baltic port where they are from.

Negotiations started quickly

Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski welcomed this “ happy ending after two weeks " A " priority » for Polish diplomacy which had set up an interministerial crisis unit in Warsaw and dispatched consular reinforcements to Abuja. Which, indeed, is rapid but quite common in Nigerian piracy where the objective is not to keep the hostages but to quickly obtain 'compensation'

A ransom probably paid

« Discussions have been undertaken by the local authorities with the kidnappers. Contact was quickly established. » Without expressly specifying that a ransom had been paid, Waszczykowski added however. “ Negotiations with the kidnappers (were) tedious and difficult ". A little later, the minister acknowledged, in half-words, questioned by our colleagues from radio 1, that liberation was not just a matter of the art of negotiation. “ The life of the Poles, the life of the sailors is priceless. Let's stick to this explanation he clarified.

Open investigation

An investigation was opened by the Szczecin prosecutor. In recent years, however, Polish justice has never, to our knowledge, had to try pirates nor has Poland requested their extradition. However, several Poles were among the sailors attacked or taken hostage by Somali pirates sailing on ships of different nationalities (Sirius star, Bow Asir, St James Park, MV Beluga Nomination, etc.) according to the B2 “Piracy” database.


Read also: 5 Polish sailors hostage to the pirates. Nigerian piracy still active (upd3).

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).