Pirates who seized two South Korean fishing vessels off he coast of Somalia are beating the crews, which include three Indians and are giving them rice mixed with sand to eat, the vessels' captain said today.
Captain Han Seok-Ho appealed for government help, saying the pirates were demanding a unspecified amount of ransom.
"We are living like animals," Han was quoted as telling Yonhap news agency by phone.
"The situation is very dangerous. Today, they dragged us to the beach (from our ships) and beat us with metal pipes," he said.
Han said he had bruises all over his body from severe beatings, and he and some crew members were suffering from malaria.
"I begged them to kill me," he said.
An Hyeon-Su, the ships' owner, said on a radio programme that negotiations to win the crews release hit a snag last week after the government refused to help raise ransom money.
The Tanzania-registered ships, Mavuno I and Mavuno II, were seized five months ago off the coast of Somalia by a group of armed pirates while en route to Yemen from Mombasa, Kenya.
On board the ships were 24 crew members, including four South Koreans, 10 Chinese, four Indonesians, three Vietnamese and three Indians.