The Bayelsa State Police Command, has confirmed the abduction of four expatriate oil workers off the coast of Bayelsa on December 23.

The Command’s spokesman, Mr Fidelis Odonna, told reporters in Yenagoa on Monday that the police had received information about the abduction of the expatriates.

He said that the identities and nationality of the oil workers had not been ascertained, adding that no group had claimed responsibility for the abduction and that no demand for ransom had been made.

“We have received report on the abduction of the four expatriate oil workers off the coast of the state in the early hours of Sunday, Dec. 23.

“As we speak, details of the incident are still sketchy. However, the command has commenced investigation as we have sent out a team to get to the matter,’’ he said.

Odonna assured that details of the kidnapping would be made available to the media when the command received it.

Associated Press (AP) however reports that “The hostages were foreigners – three of them Italian”.

“The vessel attacked was the Asso Ventuno, operated by Augusta Offshore SpA, a Naples-based shipping company in southern Italy”.

The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said the attack happened about 40 nautical miles (28km) off Nigeria’s Bayelsa state.

Nigeria Navy Launch Search Party

The Nigerian Navy has launched a search party to find the abducted expatriates abducted from the Asso Ventuno Ship, operated by a Naples based company Augusta Offshore SpA.

Reuters quoted an unnamed spokesman of the Nigerian Navy as saying “”Five vessels have been deployed for patrol duties off Brass Area. The Nigerian Navy in collaboration with other agencies have intensified search and rescue efforts of the four kidnapped crew members of MV Asso Ventuno and apprehension of the pirates.”