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Pirates attack Swiss-owned freighter

A Swiss freighter has been attacked by pirates while lying off Lagos harbour in Nigeria, its owners said on Friday.

This content was published on November 13, 2009 - 14:58

The attack happened at the end of October, when the bulk carrier Silvretta, loaded with a cargo of rice from Thailand, was waiting outside overnight for permission to dock.

The attack happened at the end of October, when the bulk carrier Silvretta, loaded with a cargo of rice from Thailand, was waiting outside overnight for permission to dock.

About ten pirates armed with Kalashnikov rifles approached the ship in a speedboat. They beat members of the 24-strong Ukrainian crew and stole computers and other valuables and forced the captain to open the safe. Nine of the crew needed treatment for injuries received during the raid, according to an official of the Swiss Federal Office for National Economic Supply.

The cargo was not touched, and is currently being unloaded as planned.

A Greek freighter was also attacked at the same time in the same place.

The Silvretta belongs to the Suisse-Atlantique shipping company, based in Renens, near Lausanne. Its director, Eric André, told the Swiss News Agency that this was the first pirate attack on one of the company's vessels since the 1980s.

Despite being landlocked, Switzerland has a merchant fleet of about 35 ships, manned mostly by foreign crews.

Suisse-Atlantique currently has 11 ships on its books.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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