Pirates move Abdullah into Somali territorial waters to avoid rescue attempt

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The Somali pirates who captured the bulk carrier Abdullah (IMO 9745598) 600 miles off the African coast have moved the ship close inshore to the Somali coast to avoid any rescue attempt.

The Bangladeshi-owned bulker was en route from Maputo in Mozambique with 55 000 tons of coal destined for a UAE customer when it was seized by pirates on 12 March.

The ship has a crew of 23 who are now being held hostage and for ransom.

The move inshore by the pirates follows the 16 March seizure of pirates on board another vessel, Ruen, by an Indian frigate assisted by another from the European Union. It is thought the Ruen was intending a rendezvous with the Abdullah when the captured ship was intercepted. After a short exchange of gunfire the pirates on the Ruen surrendered to the Indian Navy ship and have been taken into custody.

By moving within the 12-nautical mile limit off the coast of Somalia the pirates on Abdullah have avoided being outgunned and captured by international navies that are patrolling in the area.

The pirates had previously warned the respective naval forces that they still had the 23 crew on board who would be at risk if an attempt at boarding the ship was made.

Abdullah is now anchored 4 nautical miles from the coast of Somalia, where a fresh contingent of 11 pirates have taken over control of the ship, replacing those who captured it. The ship’s crew are reported as being unharmed and in good health.

In 2010 another ship, Jahan Moni, owned by the same owners and operators of Abdullah, was released after a ransom was paid more than three months after being captured. The owners of Abdullah have indicated their willingness to cooperate with the current pirates and secure the release of the ship and crew.

In 2010 an aircraft was chartered in Kenya to take the ransom money in two waterproof bags which were then dropped by parachute near the Jahan Moni. After recovering the bags from the sea the release of the ship and departure of the pirates took place.

Bring back the sailors safely

There are also reports that a joint team of Somali police assisted by international navies is preparing a rescue mission of the Abdullah and its crew. A spokesman for the owners however said they are not aware of such a move.

“Our priority is to bring back the sailors safely,” said Mizanul Islam, the company’s media spokesman. “A clear message has been given by the government to various international navies regarding such operations. We have no idea about the operations of the international navy.”

“An attack on the ship would put the lives of our sailors at risk. So, our company will not walk that path. We want to return the sailors alive to their families,” he said.

Written by Africa Ports & Ships and republished with permission. The original article can be found here.