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Nigerian pirates release crew of German tanker

They are all safe and sound Nigerian pirates have released the crew of a German oil tanker hijacked six days ago.The pirates seized the MT Cape Bird, a tanker with a crew of 20, including five Russians, in waters off Lagos on Saturday night."The crewmembers were freed last night. All are safe and sound," Sergei Panyushkin, the head of a Russian sailor recruiting firm, told RIA Novosti.The crew also included nationals of Georgia, Ukraine and Latvia.Source: RIA Novosti

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Hijacked crew saved by message in a bottle

The message in a bottle was used after the pirates cut off all other means of communication On Tuesday, UK and US forces saved 23 crew members aboard a cargo ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates. Upon being hijacked, the crew consisting of 7 Italians, 6 Ukrainians, and 10 Indians, locked themselves in a secure area away from where the pirates boarded on Monday, Italian official Ignazio La Russa told AP.Shockingly, what saved the Montecristo crewman was dispersing a message in a bottle from a porthole, alerting ships nearby that the crew was safely sealed inside an armored area of the ship. The message in a bottle was used after the pirates cut off all other means of communication to the hostages. Ships nearby became aware of the state of the 56,000-ton Italian cargo ship, but what made the bottled message so important to their rescue is including their location in the armored room, keying rescuers that an operation could be launched on board without risking injuries to the crew.Two Navy ships, one British and one American, coordinated with NATO's Ocean Shield to carry out the mission 1,000-km off of Somalia. Rubber boats circled the Montecristo, while a helicopter ...

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Somali pirates free two hostages from Algerian ship

Released two of its 27 crewmen Somali pirates holding an Algerian bulk carrier since January 1 have released two of its 27 crewmen, including one Algerian on humanitarian grounds, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.Algerian foreign ministry spokesman Amar Belani said in a statement sent to the official news agency APS that one Algerian was released on "humanitarian grounds" together with a second crew member "with foreign citizenship."He did not provide the names of the freed seamen.The MV Blida had been captured on its way from Salalah in Oman to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania with a crew of 17 Algerians, six Ukrainians including the captain, two Filipinos, an Indonesian and a Jordanian.Nacerreddine Mansouri, a senior official of International Bulk Carriers (IBC), the MV Blida's registered owner, however identified the freed Algerian crewman as 52-year-old Azzedine Toudji and said an unidentified Ukrainian national was also released."We can confirm that their lives are not in danger," he said. "Contact was never broken. Negotiations are very difficult but are making progress."The Algerian sailor "was taken to hospital", Belani earlier said without specifying where and adding only that his condition was not giving cause for concern."The Algerian authorities remain fully mobilised to ensure the ...

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Somali Pirates Demand $8million Ransom for MV Albedo

For the safe release of the vessel and its crew of 23 Pirates holding the MV Albedo, which was hijacked 10 months ago, are reportedly demanding a ransom of $8million for the safe release of the vessel and its crew of 23, consisting of seven Sri Lankans, five Bangladeshis, two Indians and seven Pakistani seafarers. The vessel is owned by a Malaysian company called Majestic Enrich Shipping, according to reports.The MV Albedo was attacked by pirates on November 26th, while underway some 239nm West of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. She was en route to Mombassa with a cargo of containers. Earlier this year, the vessel's owner told SomaliaReport.com that a ransom of $3.4million had been demanded for its release.Source: Neptune Maritime Security

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Pirates say holding British hostage in central Somalia

Briton seized in Kenya, husband killed A British woman, who was kidnapped in Kenya after her husband was killed, is in the hands of Somali pirates in the centre of the lawless Horn of Africa nation, pirates and an elder in the region said on Sunday.Unidentified gunmen raided the remote Kiwayu Safari Village in the early hours of last Sunday, shooting dead publishing executive David Tebbutt, 58, and taking hostage his wife Judith, 56, before escaping by boat."My colleagues brought her. I am among the ones guarding her ... Although you can understand the fatigue from her face, she is healthy," pirate Mohamed, one of the gang guarding the Briton, told Reuters.An elder in central Somalia confirmed the Briton's arrival."A convoy of pirates reached here two hours ago, they brought the British lady. We are very disappointed, we do not want our area to be a place for keeping kidnapped innocent people," local elder Abdullahi Ali Abukar told Reuters on Sunday.Kidnapping has chiefly been carried out by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean but Somali gunmen have attacked Westerners just across the border with Kenya on several occasions.Three aid workers were kidnapped in July 2009, and ...

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Philippines says crew of hijacked oil tanker safe

The 23-member crew of a Spanish-owned oil tanker hijacked off West Africa The Philippine government says the 23-member crew of a Spanish-owned oil tanker hijacked off West Africa is reported to be safe so far. At least 14 crew members are Filipinos.The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said Friday that the ship's local recruitment agency reported the crew is safe and their families have been informed about the hijacking.The Spanish owners said Thursday they had not heard from the ship since it was hijacked the previous day as it idled 62 nautical miles (100 kilometers) from Benin's capital Cotonou, and are hoping pirates just want to steal the crude rather than seek ransom for the crew.Five Spaniards and two Ukrainians are also aboard.Pirates are separately holding 14 other Filipino seamen in West Africa.Source: AP

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French hostage rescued from pirates after gunfight

Seven pirates who were on board are now under arrest A French woman rescued from pirates was freed after a Spanish navy patrol boat fought a fierce gun battle off the Somali coast, Spain's defence ministry said on Sunday.The gunboat spotted the pirates' skiff on Saturday afternoon and, with the help of a naval warfare team and a helicopter, sank the vessel and rescued the hostage, the ministry said in a statement.Seven pirates who were on board are now under arrest."The Spanish amphibious craft "Galicia" has freed a French hostage...held since Thursday in the south of Yemen, and has arrested the seven pirates responsible," the statement said.The woman had been sailing with her husband on a catamaran when pirates attacked. They kidnapped her and killed her husband, throwing his body overboard, according to a French government source.Contrary to earlier reports, which said four people had been attacked, the couple was not sailing with anyone else, the source added.The catamaran was found on Thursday by a German frigate. It had left the Yemeni port of Aden on September 4 and was sailing in waters known to be rife with piracy.Source: Reuters

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Pirates free Johansen family of 5 and 2 other Danes

Crew members were in good health Seven Danes, including a family with three children, have been released after being held hostage in Somalia since February, when their yacht was hijacked by pirates in the Arabian Sea, the Danish Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.The parents, Jan Quist Johansen and Birgit Marie Johansen, and their children, ages 12 to 16 at the time of the hijacking, along with two Danish crew members, were in good health "considering the circumstances," the ministry said in a statement.The statement did not elaborate on the circumstances that led to their release or whether a ransom had been paid. Reuters reported that it had spoken by phone to a pirate in Somalia who identified himself as Hussein and said that a group he belonged to had received a $3 million ransom Tuesday. That report could not be independently confirmed. Denmark has often favored negotiation over more aggressive means to pursue the release of hostages held by Somali pirates.The Danes were flying home to Denmark, according to Danish media reports.The family's yacht was sailing through the waters off the Horn of Africa in late February when pirates boarded the vessel. The ministry said the family and crew had been ...

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Kidnapped captain of Cameroon ship freed

Seven assailants boarded the ship and demanded a "monthly security tax" from the captain The captain of a Cameroonian ship taken hostage by heavily armed assailants off the coast of Nigeria on Saturday was freed a few hours later, sources said.The captain "was freed last (Saturday) night. He will return to Cameroon today," said an official at the Corner Water Shipping company, which runs the ship.Seven assailants boarded the Monica Express with 150 people on board Saturday and demanded a "monthly security tax" from the captain, according to a witness on board.The men took the captain hostage while they verified his claim that the fee had already been paid. The rest of the people on board were let free unharmed."The assailants got what they wanted before freeing the captain," a Cameroonian security services source said on Sunday, without giving details.In Nigeria, navy spokesman Kabir Aliyu said the kidanap took place as the passenger boat was on its way from Cameroon to Oron in Nigeria.Cameroonian authorities have attributed attacks and kidnappings off the Bakassi peninsula over the last three years to pirates.The area is believed to be rich in oil and gas. Several groups involved in such attacks have asked oil ...

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Hostage died inadvertently during anti-piracy operation off Somalia

The pirates are in effect using the hostages as human shields A US investigation into the death of a Taiwanese captain during a NATO anti-piracy operation off Somalia in May found that the hostage "was killed inadvertently by ordnance" by the US Navy. Wu Lai-yu was captain of the fishing vessel Jih Chun Tsai 68, which was hijacked by Somali pirates off the eastern coast of Africa on 30 March 2010 and then used as a pirate mothership.He died on 10 May 2011 during a NATO anti-piracy operation, which employed ordnance to force the vessel to stop, release hostages and surrender weapons. The pirates had returned fire with AK-47s before they surrendered. The naval boarding party found Wu dead in his sleeping quarters. He was buried with due ceremony at sea in his vessel, which was then sunk, as it was unseaworthy after the operation.The case indicates the difficulties involved in naval anti-piracy operations against captured vessels and their crew, which Somali pirates use to further their attacks on shipping. The pirates are in effect using the hostages as "human shields" to pursue further acts of piracy.The increasing brutality of the pirates has fuelled the global concern of the dangers ...

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