Somali escalates piracy to murder on the high seas. North Korean captain died from gunshot wound.
(Lincoln Tribune, Lincolnton, NC) November 18, 2009. EU Navfor said on Wednesday that pirates had also attacked the same U.S. ship they hijacked in April this year. The European force said gunmen opened fire on the Maersk Alabama with automatic weapons on Wednesday morning, but a security detachment with the huge container ship responded and the vessel managed to escape with no casualties reported.
(Washington Times Editorial) November 20, 2009. An anti-pirate policy that works: Arming merchant ships thwarts piracy.
I believe the Washington Times Editorial got their facts wrong on the “28 members of its crew dead.” From my brief search of Google News only one North Korean Captain of the MV Theresa VIII died from a gunshot wound the following day after being shot by Somali pirates and the 28 members of the MV Theresa VIII were not injured.
From the London TimesOnline, November 19, 2009:
The North Korean captain of a tanker being held by Somali pirates is believed to have died after being shot during the hijack. When the MV Theresa VIII was hijacked north of the Seychelles on Monday its 28 crew members tried to fight off the pirates. Initial reports said that no one had been injured seriously.
However, a pirate called Mohamed said: “The captain of the chemical tanker died last night from gunshot wounds he got during the hijack.”
There has been no independent confirmation of the report. Somali pirates have been responsible for more than 160 armed attacks on ships in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean this year. They fire frequently at target vessels with AK47 rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. There have been no other reports of deaths at their hands pirates this year.
Hostages are considered assets so it is in the interests of the hijackers to keep them alive. This point was illustrated yesterday when the Alakrana, a Spanish trawler, and its 36 crew, were released after a £2 million ransom was paid. There were reports of celebrations in Haradheere as the pirates flaunted their newfound wealth.