Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pirates in the News: December 12, 2009

Piracy in Somalia and around the world continues to hit the news,

in Spain, the opposition party questioned the choice to pay pirates a ransom for the crew of the trawler Alakrana. The $3.3 Million ransom was paid and the full crew released just before Thanksgiving.

In Kenya, courts are prosecuting many cases of piracy on the high seas but face many problems including translation, sluggish proceedings and international pressure.

The North Korean Captain of the tanker MV Theresa VIII was mortally wounded during the hijacking of the tanker off the Seychelles in November.

In Bangladesh, 16 fishermen went missing and are presumed dead after a pirate attack in the Bay of Bengal.

Eighteen fishermen were assaulted in the Bay of Bengal by a band of 25-30 pirates Friday, said fishermen Shahidullah and Abdur Rahim. Shahidullah like many Bangladeshis uses only one name.

The survivors said the pirates severely beat them and slashed some of the fishermen with knives before throwing them all overboard.

Shahidullah and Rahim were rescued by another fishing boat, but the other fishermen remain missing in waters off Cox's Bazar, a coastal town 185 miles (296 kilometers) south of the capital, Dhaka.

"The pirates took away the boat, fish and nets from us," Shahidullah told The Associated Press.

The British Couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler are still reportedly being held on land in Somalia, and remain in fear for their lives. Their captors continue to release death threats against the pair if ransoms are not paid.

Pirates have captured the Greek Owned, Red Sea Spirit:
"Red Sea Spirit was taken by gunmen off the Yemeni coast last Thursday. She is flying the Panama flag," Mwangura said. "She is a Greek-owned bulk carrier."
The ship was captured off the coast of Yemen. Another Greek ship, the Maran Centaurus captured by somali pirates reached the coast of Somalia on the 2nd of December. Yet a third Greek-Owned ship paid a ransom for the Maltese flagged Ariana which pirates have said they are happy to release:

In the Somali coastal town of Hobyo, a self-proclaimed pirate who gave his name as Ahmed Gedi said his group had been paid $2.8 million to free the Ariana. It was not possible to independently verify the amount of ransom paid. "After we check and count it, we will leave the ship and free it," Gedi told the AP on the phone."

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