One navy officer was killed and four other naval personnel injured in an overnight attack on a vessel protecting a Shell oilfield off southern Nigeria, industry and security sources said Wednesday.
“We got a report that militants attacked the navy vessel NNS Obula at 2105 hours. The vessel was detailed to protect the EA oilfield operated by Shell. One navy officer was killed while four were injured,” a Shell security official told AFP.
The State Security Service (SSS) also confirmed the attack, but said no hostages were taken from the Anglo-Dutch oil facility.
Last week, six foreign workers with the Italian oil firm Agip were seized by militants in the volatile Niger Delta, but they were released unharmed on Tuesday.
The hostages, of Polish and Indian nationality, were captured in a raid the FPSO Mystras oil platform, 85 kilometres (52 miles) off the south Nigeria coast when gunmen in speedboats intercepted a supply boat.
In the 18 months leading up to June 2007, militant and criminal gangs in the Niger Delta concentrated on kidnapping foreigners, mostly oil workers, seizing some 200 of them in that period.
As companies stepped up security measures expatriates became harder to get at and in in July, many gangs started targeting the elderly parents and children of prominent Nigerians in the region.
The unrest in the Niger Delta has reduced exports of Nigeria’s 2.6 million barrels of crude per day at peak production by a quarter in the past 18 months.