Hijacked crew disarms sleeping Somali pirates, killing 5 and taking back ship, say officialsBy Malkhadir M. Muhumed, AP
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Cargo boat crew take back ship from Somali pirates
NAIROBI, Kenya — The crew of a Libyan-owned cargo ship pounced on their sleeping Somali captors Wednesday, disarmed the pirates and killed five of them, regaining control of their vessel that had been hijacked almost three months earlier, officials said.
A sixth pirate who survived the attack by the MV Rim crew managed to lock himself in a room and call other pirates to say they had been overpowered before the crew took him hostage, said Abdiaziz Aw Yusuf, the Garacad district commissioner. Garacad is the coastal town near which the MV Rim has been anchored.
A crew member was seriously injured during the struggle, the European Union’s anti-piracy naval force said in a statement. The crew had reported to the force that they had retaken control of the ship Wednesday morning. The EU said it is believed some of the pirates were killed during the incident.
EU force commander Rear Adm. Jan Thornqvist then sent the closest warship, the SPS Victoria, to provide medical assistance. A group of pirates on another hijacked vessel tried to block the warship, the statement said, but when the warship’s helicopter approached the pirates, they changed course. The statement added that no warning shots were fired.
The MV Rim was seized Feb. 3 in the Gulf of Aden, outside the internationally recommended transit corridor patrolled by the anti-piracy naval coalition. The 4,800-ton ship is owned by White Sea Shipping of Libya and is carrying unknown cargo. The number and nationalities of its crew are also not known.
Earlier Wednesday, Somali pirates hijacked a cargo ship, the QSM Dubai in the Gulf of Aden, the EU anti-piracy naval force said in a statement. The ship has a crew of 24 — Egyptians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Ghanaians. The ship, which is flying a Panamanian flag, sailed from Brazil.
Somali pirates are currently holding at least 20 vessels.
The Horn of Africa nation’s 19 years of lawlessness has allowed piracy to flourish, with pirates earning multimillion dollar ransoms.
Associated Press writer Malkhadir M. Muhumed in Nairobi, Kenya and Mohamed Sheikh Nor in Mogadishu, Somalia contributed to this report.