Pirates Seize 2 Americans Off Ship Near Nigeria

The captain and an engineer onboard an oil supply vessel were taken ashore to Nigeria.
5:08 | 10/24/13

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Transcript for Pirates Seize 2 Americans Off Ship Near Nigeria
Hello I'm tired and is in new York and this is an ABC news digital special report armed pirates have kidnapped two Americans. Pulling them off an oil supply vessel but fifty nautical miles off the coast of Nigeria. With all the latest on the attack and the location of the kidnapped and were joined from the Pentagon. By ABC's Willie Martinez hi -- -- So who are these men and what were they doing. All we know is -- job titles -- because. We don't really have -- much information we know that this is the ship's master which is basically the captain of the ship as well as an engineer. They're the only two Americans on board this ship of this he said you know supply ship. That that was operating about fifteen miles off the coast of Nigeria. The other crew members of various nationalities were left on board and what we're told is that the two Americans were taken by the pirates back to land. So it's quite it's difficult situation for these two individuals. Who were just operating offshore doing what they would normally doing a supply vessels operating in the area the -- quite well known for having oil rigs as well. And then there -- set upon by these pirates. To take control of the ship and then we go back to land with two Americans on board now we should stress these are not US navy sailors they're simply people working. On that ship we've been hearing a lot about piracy lately what if anything is different about this particular situation. Well this is -- situation involving Americans and you hardly ever hear about Americans being high and kidnapped. And it is as part of piracy hijacking. Either -- It being on the West Coast of Africa -- on East Coast of Africa. Obviously in the waters of east African gotten a lot of attention in recent years particularly a lot of attention right now with the -- captain Phillips. Where the portrayal of captain Richard Phillips was taken by Somali pirates for several days back in 2000. Nine. The so it's what's very interesting here is that it's focusing attention. On the piracy it's on the other coast of Africa -- the West Coast of Africa what's known as the Gulf of Guinea. Now it's been a significant drop in the number of pirate attacks and -- -- sex successful attacks on the East Coast of Somalia. There's been race. Similar spike in the on the West Coast of Africa and actually the International Maritime Bureau now -- is that those waters off of West Africa are some of the most dangerous in the world. And that's where you're seeing most of the pirate attacks taking place right now what you're seeing is small vessels like I said their oil rigs out there. -- ships that are operating close to land. So there -- opportunity here for pirates -- go and either rob them of what they have. Or in some cases take hostages as they have here in the situation. Surprising that there wasn't perhaps more security in place we are hearing about security companies stepping forward and bringing our guards aboard these vessels and it to make a big difference. It's -- a huge difference southeast coast of Somalia. Will remember that this Somali piracy really took off of her talent around 20062008. There were hundreds of people who were being held hostage by Somali pirates. And then you -- -- internationally internationally -- stepping up. You had US. Spanish. Even a Chinese -- patrolling the waters off the coast of eastern Africa. And he saw drops in piracy after that. But a bigger. Impact as he said was greater awareness on the part of private shipping companies that they had -- -- bring aboard either. Private security firms improve security on board their vessels. And the combination of factors -- really split. To the reduction in piracy -- the East Coast of Africa not similar situation in West Coast there and it's much greater activity in the Gulf of Guinea. It's very active areas. And so they just -- targets of opportunity because -- much smaller vessels that are operating there. So what happens next you are an American -- your loved one is an American has just been kidnapped by pirates. Who helped -- secure their release says the US government how he would private contractors help you make contact. -- -- nomination of -- -- typically what happens when there is a variety of ransom involved now we don't know if that's the case here. But when there are ransoms involved -- think pirates dealings in its highly it's very well organized actually. They make contacts with insurance firms who have been. Make payouts to return -- is held hostage. Is so sometimes this can involve financial transactions. The better kept quiet and the way that this is all done is it has kept under the table. So you have very low visibility very low public awareness that something is actually taken place. Right now in this situation course. And these two Americans involved and there is the US government is involved. In and the fact that we -- we're told that the FBI in New York. Has the -- for the case we talked to defense officials here depending on who say that this is really a law enforcement matter right now. -- given that these two individuals were taken back to plant presumably to Nigeria to the Nigerian coast. Choosing to see if that helps our complicates matters for the families who certainly want their loved ones back. ABC's Louis Martinez thank you so much for joining us from the Pentagon. With this chilling story you've been watching ABC news did feel special report I'm -- Hernandez in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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