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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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More seafarers suffer at pirate hands

Over 3,500 seafarers have been kidnapped and held hostage The number of seafarers who have died as a direct result of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean has mounted to 62 in the past four years, according to figures released by the SOS Save Our Seafarers campaign.SOS notes that the deaths have occurred through: "deliberate murder by pirates, suicide during the period of captivity, death from malnutrition and disease, death by drowning, or heart failure just after the hijacking."It also points out that over 3,500 seafarers have been kidnapped and held hostage over this period, many suffering the trauma of being used as human shields, forced to operate their ship as a pirate mother ship, and subject to extreme mental and physical anguish. Some have also experienced beatings and torture, such as being hung over the side of the ship.Following release of these figures on the effects of piracy, SOS, which was launched on 1 March and is backed by all sides of the shipping industry, including ITF, plans "to give even greater emphasis to its worldwide call for government action to tackle the issue".Somali pirates currently hold captive around 23 vessels and 439 hostages, according to ...

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