CUT OFF, La. -- According to U.S. Department of State officials, the C-Retriever vessel has been captured by Nigerian pirates.
On board are two Americans -- the ship's captain and engineer.
'It's a major issue,' said Tulane Maritime Law Director Martin Davies. 'Has been for a long time.'
Davies said unlike the Somali pirates who are known to be fishermen on Africa's east coast, Nigerian pirates are much more ruthless.
'The pirates from the west coast of Africa are more old fashioned. They take the cargo, steal the vessel and perhaps kill the crew,' Davies said.
The vessel belongs to Louisiana-based Edison Choest Offshore, who remain tight-lipped about the incident.
Thursday, U.S. Department of State officials said there are efforts in line to rescue the crew.
'So we're monitoring the situation and we're seeking additional details,' said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary. 'Our principal concern now is the safe return of two American citizens.'
Davies said the western coast of Africa doesn't have the naval defense like the east coast, and even with help, catching the pirates would be difficult.
'One of the problems with naval patrol is those are big vessels. The one that go out and take these ships are small and fast,' said Davies
According to the International Maritime Bureau, piracy incidents on a global scale have cost anywhere from $6 billion to $25 billion annually.
The highest amount of piracy attacks on record came in 2012 with more than 900.
'A lot of money is spent to combat it because a lot of trade goes through those narrow points,' Davies said.
According to Davies, any shipments on the west coast of Africa generally involve oil.
The C-Retriever vessel is one of the smaller of the fleet. It's said to be efficient on fuel and low maintenance.
Back home, those in Cut Off cling to hope and prayers the hostages will return safely.
'I pray for them and their families,' Kurt Curole said.