TODAY

TODAY   |  October 25, 2013

Two Americans kidnapped by pirates off Nigeria

Officials say they do not know the whereabouts or condition of two Americans sailing on a U.S.-flagged ship who were kidnapped by pirates off the coast of Nigeria. NBC’s  Jim Miklaszewski reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> turn to natalie following a story of americans taken hostage by pirates.

>> once again. two americans are at the center of drama on the high saes. they have been kidnapped by pirates off the coast of nigeria . jim has the latest.

>> reporter: good morning, natalie. there's no word on the condition or whereabouts of those two americans . their identities have not been released but the fact that their ship was flying an american flag made them an all too tempting target for pirates. in a brazen attack, pirates kidnapped the two americans off this u.s. flag ship, the c-retriever. they easily boarded the ship and then methodically singled out the americans , the u.s. captain and chief engineer and took them ashore as hostages. it all happened in the gulf of guinea off nigeria with a steady stream of cargo ships it's a prime hunting ground for pirates. the most memorable pirate attack on an american is now a hit movie. captain richard phillips was kidnapped by somali pirates before he was rescued by navy s.e.a.l.s but he worries the nigerian pirates hold a bigger threat.

>> they'll usually bring them ashore and hide them so no rescue attempt can be made. you have to understand, it's dangerous in the gulf of guinea.

>> reporter: acts of piracy decreased across the rest of the world but off the coast of nigeria they skyrocketed over 30% this year.

>> this is not a hollywood movie plot. they threaten our economic security and put innocent lives at risk.

>> reporter: defense officials here tell us that at this point it appears that it's highly unlikely there will be any kind of u.s. military rescue attempt and the way this worked almost all the times in the past, a ran ransome is paid and hostages are released and they write it off as the coast of doing business but that makes it no less terrifying for the hostages and their families.