Friday, March 21, 2008

Pirates in the News! March 21, 2008

Most of the pirate news this week comes out of Nigeria where piracy has been increasing in the past several months.

Nigeria is Africa's largest producer of oil and has a correlating high incidence of piracy feeding off of it. Officials are saying that the recent rise in pirate activity is because of a decrease in security in the region.
"Before, it was maybe one death every two months or once in a fortnight, but five deaths in five different locations and five different companies?" says Paul Kirubakaran, managing director of the Seabless fishing company, whose boats are among the 200 shrimp and fishing vessels docked in Nigeria's commercial capital since a strike began in January. "When people are killed like this how can we ask them to go back [to sea]?"
With the increase in piracy there are also increased reporting of raids and other incidents around the coast of Nigeria. Such as this raid against pirates last week.
"We have been receiving reports of robberies on that route, so we positioned our men. This morning, unknown to the pirates, our men were around the area when they tried to rob some passenger boats and we engaged them in a long gun battle."

In Somalia the Svitzer Korsakov and its crew was released by its pirate captors:

A local government official says the British captain, Irish engineer and four Russian crew aboard the Svitzer Korsakov are all "safe and healthy" after being held for more than a month.

Ahmed Said Aw-Nur, ports minister in Puntland, a semi-autonomous region of northeast Somalia, says the ship was freed after its Danish owner "negotiated with the criminals and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for ransom."

The Canadian Press reports that the hostages were released after a ransom of $700,000 was paid.

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