LAGOS, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Twenty-three Indian sailors are on board the oil tanker hijacked by suspected pirates off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria's commercial hub, on Wednesday morning, the oil tanker company told Xinhua.
Spokesperson for the Dubai based company, Pioneer Ship Management Services LLC, Pat Adamson told Xinhua on phone that all the crew on the fully loaded gasoline tanker are Indians nationals.
He said the company lost contact with the crew after they sent distress signals as the pirates boarded the ship in the night, with their last message indicating they had locked themselves inside a panic room on the vessel.
The tanker was coming from Bonny and was heading to the United States, Harrison added.
According to him, the company have since received contact from the crew onboard the vessel and can confirm that all crew members are currently reported to be safe and uninjured, but that the vessel has been boarded by suspected pirates.
He said no contact has been made with those believed to be holding the vessel and that no demands have been received by Pioneer Ship management.
"Pioneer is taking the matter extremely seriously and its primary concern is for the well-being and safe return of its crew members," he added.
The spokesperson told Xinhua that all relevant authorities have been notified including Flag State, Singapore and that the company is working closely with the International Maritime Bureau and local authorities.
The frequent attacks on ships by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea pose an increasing threat to the trade hub.