MS man believed kidnapped by rebels off oil rig

BILOXI, MS (WLOX/AP) - The family of a Mississippi oil worker says their loved one has been kidnapped by rebels off an oil rig on the Nigerian coast.

London-based Afren PLC confirms five people are believed kidnapped in what it described as a security breach on its rig in Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta. The company has not released the identities of those captured, but did confirm two other workers were wounded in the attack.

A relative of a James Robertson of Silver Creek, told WLOX News the family received word of the kidnapping overnight Monday. Robertson works for Transocean, according to the family.

It's unclear how many of the others involved were U.S. oil workers.

Robertson's family members are sharing any news they can find on Facebook, while Transocean is providing updates to the immediate family every two hours.

Alfren says the security breach occurred on the High Island VII jackup rig, which had recently arrived on location, preparing to commence infill drilling. The company said a second security breach occurred at the AT 101 support vessel. Drilling operations on the rig are temporarily suspended.

The injured workers were taken by helicopter to a company clinic on shore.

Militants in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta began a campaign of kidnapping and pipeline bombings in 2006, upset over pollution and the region's endemic poverty despite 50 years of oil production. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.