Five Britons have been taken hostage by raiders on an oil rig off the coast of Nigeria, British consular officials said.
The workers are among up to 99 people who have been held for at least three days on the rig sub–contracted to Anglo–Dutch oil giant Shell.
The rig was stormed by a group of militant youths from a nearby local community in southern Nigeria.
Alex McCann, duty officer at the Deputy High Commission in Lagos, confirmed that five British expatriate workers were being held hostage.
Negotiations were under way between Shell and the raiders to secure the captives' safe release.
The others being held are believed to include five Americans, three Australians, a South African and a Trinidadian, while the rest are Nigerians.
A Shell spokeswoman said: "A group of youths from a local community went on to the Trident rig, which is in a shallow offshore site.
"They are still there and we are negotiating and hopefully we can get this resolved as quickly as possible."
The spokeswoman added that similar incidents had happened before, although "not often".
The rig is owned by American company Transocean Sedco Forex, the world's largest offshore drilling company.
The firm, based in Houston, Texas, provides contract drilling services for oil and gas wells.Reuse content