Three Nigerian crew members who were kidnapped from a small passenger boat in April have been released.

On the night of the 8th April 2015 a small passenger boat, operated by French company Bourbon, was boarded by pirates off of the Nigerian coast. Three Nigerian crew members were taken hostage.

Just over 4 weeks after the kidnapping took place, it has been announced that all three hostages have been released and appear to be in good health.

It is not known what prompted the release of the crew members - whether a ransom was paid or another agreement was reached. However, it is positive news that the hostages were released unharmed and also an important reminder that seafarers remain at risk from piracy.

According to the latest reports, there are currently 26 hostages held by pirates worldwide. West Africa has become an increasingly dangerous region for vessels to transit, with piracy related incidents occurring on average once a week.

Maritime security measures must be implemented differently in West Africa to that of East Africa, due regional laws and regulations. However there are security measures that can be taken, provided in collaboration with regional navies and companies that operate secure anchorages in the region.