Pirates attacked an oil supply vessel off the Nigerian coast and kidnapped the captain and chief engineer, both U.S. citizens, an American defense official and security sources said on Thursday.For a little history (back to 2006), see Wikipedia's Foreign hostages in Nigeria. I think the racket has been going on longer than that, though.
The U.S.-flagged, C-Retriever, a 222-foot (67 meter) vessel owned by U.S. marine transport group Edison Chouest Offshore, was attacked early Wednesday, UK-based security firm AKE and two security sources said. The company was not immediately available for comment.
A U.S. defense official said the State Department and FBI were leading the American response to the incident. A second defense official said the U.S. Marine Corps has a small training unit in the region but it was not clear if it would get involved.
A report that says 26% of worldwide kidnapping happens in Nigeria can be found here.
What you pay for, you will get more of.
About 75 BC, Julius Caesar was kidnapped by pirates. The rest of the story from Plutarch:
Caesar . . . went down to the sea and sailed to King Nicomedes in Bithynia. With him he tarried a short time, and then, on his voyage back, was captured, near the island Pharmacusa, by pirates, who already at that time controlled the sea with large armaments and countless small vessels.Rough justice. Old school, you might even say.
To begin with, then, when the pirates demanded twenty talents for his ransom, he laughed at them for not knowing who their captive was, and of his own accord agreed to give them fifty. In the next place, after he had sent various followers to various cities to procure the money and was left with one friend and two attendants among Cilicians, most murderous of men, he held them in such disdain that whenever he lay down to sleep he would send and order them to stop talking. For eight and thirty days, as if the men were not his watchers, but his royal body-guard, he shared in their sports and exercises with great unconcern. He also wrote poems and sundry speeches which he read aloud to them, and those who did not admire these he would call to their faces illiterate Barbarians, and often laughingly threatened to hang them all. The pirates were delighted at this, and attributed his boldness of speech to a certain simplicity and boyish mirth. But after his ransom had come from Miletus and he had paid it and was set free, he immediately manned vessels and put to sea from the harbour of Miletus against the robbers. He caught them, too, still lying at anchor off the island, and got most of them into his power. Their money he made his booty, but the men themselves he lodged in the prison at Pergamum, and then went in person to Junius, the governor of Asia, on the ground that it belonged to him, as praetor of the province, to punish the captives. But since the praetor cast longing eyes on their money, which was no small sum, and kept saying that he would consider the case of the captives at his leisure, Caesar left him to his own devices, went to Pergamum, took the robbers out of prison, and crucified them all, just as he had often warned them on the island that he would do, when they thought he was joking.
This is a criminal business enterprise in a country that is a nearly failed state.