Mississippian Kidnapped by Pirates Off Nigeria

By: David Kenney, WLBT-TV
By: David Kenney, WLBT-TV

WTOK's statewide network partner, WLOX-TV, reported that a Mississippi oil worker was kidnapped off an oil rig on the Nigerian coast.

Network partner, WLBT-TV, traveled to Silver Creek, Miss., in Lawrence County, the home of oil worker James Robertson.

With a population of less than 250 people, news of the kidnapping spread fast.

"I think somebody ought to take care of them, honestly," said resident Larry Smith.

"I never would have thought there would be pirates in 2010," said family friend, Kacey Slocum.

Robertson was on board an oil platform when it was stormed by armed men, who took him and four others captive.

Two other oil workers who were shot were airlifted to a nearby clinic.
Those who know Robertson say they're stunned.

"I know his daughters. They're my age, real nice," said Slocum. "I think he's got seven grandkids. Just a real nice guy. Every time you see him, he speaks to you and says hello, and we just hope he comes home safe and just pray for him."

"I think he's a great person and he's over there doing his job and should be respected than what they're doing to him," Smith said.

Robertson works for the London-based company, Afren PLC. His oil rig is managed by Transocean, the same company that operated the rig tied to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the company says it's seeking a quick resolution.

"they need to just let him go," Slocum said. "My husband, he works offshore in Brazil and every time he leaves, we're scared to death. I hope they bring him home safe."

At the Robertson's home, family members told this reporter they were told not to talk to the media, by Transocean, and the FBI.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, there were more than 153 vessels that were boarded worldwide in 2009. Forty-nine of those vessels were hijacked and 120 vessels were fired upon. A total of 1052 crew were taken hostage, with 68 injured and 8 killed. The level of violence and injuries has increased throughout the years.

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