Two British ship security guards and their Irish colleague escaped kidnapping on Friday by jumping into the sea as Somali pirates hijacked a Singaporean tanker in the Gulf of Aden – the latest in a soaring spate of attacks.
By Mike Pflanz in Nairobi
The Telegraph (UK)
The men leapt overboard and were rescued by a German navy helicopter before being flown to the safety of a French frigate nearby.
At least another 25 of the crew, from India and Bangladesh, were still on the Liberian-flagged Biscaglia last night, a chemical tanker which was sailing through the pirate-infested waters between Somalia and Yemen.
The three worked for Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions, a shipping protection firm headquartered in Poole, Dorset.
“APMSS are aware of an incident that occurred this morning on a chemical tanker Biscaglia,” said Nick Davis, a former pilot who set up the company earlier this year.
“We have been informed by coalition military authorities that three of our unarmed security staff were rescued from the water by a coalition helicopter and are currently on board a coalition warship in the Gulf of Aden.
“We have established procedures in place to deal with this and are working hard with the ship owners to assist in this fast developing situation. Our prime concern is the safety of all the people involved.”
Five pirates in a small open speedboat approached the Biscaglia in broad daylight yesterday morning and succeeded in boarding despite the security detachment.
Mr Davis’s firm uses a variety of non-lethal tools to keep pirates away, including audio and magnetic acoustic devices which broadcast messages and even debilitating sonic squeals over long distances.
It is not clear if this equipment was deployed on the Biscaglia.
Noel Choong, head of the piracy reporting centre at the International Maritime Bureau in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, confirmed that the ship sent a distress call at 0447 GMT.