Archive for the ‘Horn of Africa’ Category

Somali pirates free 22 sailors seized in September

October 16, 2008

SEOUL, South Korea – Pirates who seized a cargo ship off the coast of Somalia more than a month ago on Thursday freed the 22 sailors and the vessel, a South Korean official said.

Somali pirates seized the Ukrainian cargo ship MV Faina -- which ... 
Somali pirates seized the Ukrainian cargo ship MV Faina — which is laden with tanks and weapons. As Somalia sinks ever deeper into hunger and despair, attacking foreign ships bottle-necking into the Gulf of Aden is proving to be one of the few profitable activities in the country.(AFP/Jason R. Zalasky)

The crew members — eight South Koreans and 14 citizens from Myanmar — were heading toward a U.S. Navy vessel in the area after being set free earlier in the day, Foreign Ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young told reporters.

Moon said the sailors were all safe but declined to comment whether a ransom was paid.

The South Korean cargo vessel was hijacked by Somalia pirates on Sept. 10 in the Gulf of Aden — one of 29 ships hijacked this year off the African coast. The latest is a Philippine bulk carrier seized in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday with a crew of 21.

Also being held off the coast is the MV Faina, a Ukrainian ship carrying weapons and tanks. U.S. warships have surrounded the Faina as the pirates who seized it demanded millions of dollars in ransom.

Officials say 10 hijacked ships remain in the hands of pirates, along with about 200 crew members. With no effective government, Somalia cannot protect its coastline. It is located along the Gulf of Aden, which connects the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean and is one of the world’s busiest waterways with some 20,000 ships passing through it each year.

But international pressure on the pirates is growing….

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Somalia: Pirates Rethink Blowing Up Ship

October 16, 2008

The Somali pirates who hijacked a freighter full of weapons appeared Wednesday to be backing down from earlier threats to blow up the ship if they were not paid a ransom. A pirate speaking by satellite phone said Wednesday that an excessive number of mediators had been hampering the negotiations, but that the pirates did not plan to harm the crew. People on shore near the ship said that the pirates had recently hauled aboard enough spaghetti, rice and goat meat to last them several months. The freighter was hijacked Sept. 25 off Somalia’s coast, and the pirates have demanded millions of dollars before they set it free.

Somali pirates die at sea in fighting

October 13, 2008

by Mustafa Haji Abdinur

MOGADISHU (AFP) – Forces from the Somali breakaway region of Puntland on Sunday attacked pirates holding a Somali cargo freighter, triggering clashes that killed two pirates and a soldier, an official said.

Four others, including another Puntland soldier, were wounded when the forces attempted to rescue MV Awail, owned by a Somali trading company with a crew of 13 Syrians and two Somalis, which was seize Thursday off the region’s shores.

A handout photo provided by the US Navy shows the Belize-flagged ... 
A handout photo provided by the US Navy shows the Belize-flagged Ukrainian cargo MV Faina in the Indian Ocean. Pirates holding a Ukrainian arms ship off the Somali coast have rejected a local mediator, delaying efforts to free the freighter laden with battle tanks and others arms(AFP/Jason R. Zalasky)

The fighting comes amid mounting pressure over piracy in the waters around Somalia, with US and international navies blockading a kidnapped Ukrainian vessel loaded with tanks and weapons.

“They surrounded the (Somali) ship this morning near Hafun area, where they exchanged fire with pirates killing two of them. One of our men also died,” said Muse Gelle Yusuf, governor of Puntland’s Bari region.

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