LAGOS - Gunmen have attacked a barge belonging to an oil services company off the coast of Nigeria, killing two Nigerian sailors and kidnapping four foreigners, officials say.
The suspected sea pirates stormed the vessel in the Gulf of Guinea, an area that has seen a sharp spike in the number of reported marine attacks over the last six months.
A spokeswoman for Sea Trucks Group, which provides support vessels to oil companies operating in Nigeria, told AFP that one of the company's ships came under fire and that the firm's employees were taken in the raid.
"At this time Sea Trucks Group is making every effort to ascertain the whereabouts of its personnel," the spokeswoman, Corrie van Kessel, told AFP.
Sea Trucks Group, which also operates in Australia and East Asia, was founded as a Nigerian firm in 1977 before expanding and currently has a "corporate support office" in the Netherlands, according to its website.
Nigeria's navy spokesman Commodore Kabir Aliyu said during the attack "four expatriates are reported to have been kidnapped from the vessel; two sailors were killed".
He said those kidnapped were from Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia and Thailand.