Lagos, Nigeria. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Philippine government is coordinating with authorities in Nigeria and Switzerland in an effort to rescue seven Filipino seafarers who were kidnapped off the coast of Nigeria.

On Tuesday, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that a dozen crew members of a Swiss-owned vessel had been abducted by armed men, and among those kidnapped were seven Filipinos.

The Philippine embassies in Abuja and Bern are coordinating with authorities in Nigeria and Switzerland to get additional information on the possible whereabouts of the abducted crew members.

The vessel was reportedly making its way from Lagos to Port Harcourt, Nigeria, when armed men came aboard and kidnapped 12 of the 19 crew members. The Philippines’ ambassador to Nigeria, Shirley Ho Vicario, said five other Filipinos and two other people were left on board. The motive for the kidnappings is not known.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has directed the Office of Migrant Worker Affairs to notify and extend assistance to the families of the kidnapped Filipinos in the Philippines.