15 pirates had ben arrested

2011.2.8-Starve.jpgThe successful apprehension of Somali pirates off Lakshadweep by Indian Navy and Coast Guard on Sunday has brought along a tragic story of hostages.

At least five crew members of the three Thai trawlers hijacked by pirates have been reported to have died of hunger and sickness after the owner of the trawlers refused to pay ransom leading to a 10-month-long hostage crisis.

According to sources, the pirates had hijacked three trawlers, Prantalay-11, Prantalay-12 and Prantalay-14, in April last year off Somalia coast with 49 crew members. The trawlers were going to Djibouti when they were hijacked off Somalia coast.

The pirates demanded a ransom of US$ 9 million from the owner to release the vessels, but the owner refused to pay. "His three trawlers cumulatively cost only US$ 600,000.

The pirates, however, would not relent. This led to a stand-off that stretched for 10 long months, before a Naval operation ended it on Sunday," said an officer from Yellow Gate police station.

Strapped of resources, the pirates during this time provided little food to the hostages. "Four crew members on Prantalay-14 fell sick and died due to lack of medical supplies.

One crew member from Prantalay-11, rescued by the Navy and Coast Guard on Sunday, is also reported to have died of the same reason," the officer said.

The Navy and Coast Guard on January 28 had rescued 20 crew members from Prantalay-14 before sinking it.

In the operation, 15 pirates had been arrested while 10 had died of bullet injuries.

Source: Mumbai Mirror