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Monday, February 04, 2008

Somali Pirates: Take tug off Somalia coast

Reported here:
Pirates captured the Svitzer Korsakov tugboat off the Somali coast with four Russians and two British nationals aboard.
The incident took place back on Friday, but the news about this event was made public only on Sunday. There is also different information on where the vessel is heading.

Captain on duty at the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk marine rescue sub-centre Valery Ishmukov told Itar-Tass on Sunday that the Svitzer Korsakov is heading for the Somali port of Mogadishu. Rescuers believe that the tugboat has instruments, transmitting automatically the ship's
coordinates. The pirates do not know possibly this; therefore, the tugboat' s movements are being tracked for the time being, Kazinform refers to Itar-Tass.

The press service of the Russian Transport Ministry reported that "the Svitzer Korsakov is now in the zone of visibility of passing-by ships off the Somali coast, but the crew have not sent any SOS signal".

In turn, the headquarters of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), located in Rome, reported, referring to a source in Mogadishu, that to all appearances, the tugboat is sailing along the coral ridge off the Somali coast. Eyewitnesses claimed that a NATO warship was near the captured vessel. There is no communication with the crew. According to tracking
instruments, the tugboat's course was changed after the ship's capture.

There are four Russian citizens aboard the Svitzer Korsakov, including the captain's back-up man Nikolai Berezovsky and two British nationals -the captain and senior mechanic. The vessel was heading from St.

Petersburg for Sakhalin where it was to operate in the Prigorodnoye port to help mooring giant tankers and the same-size gas carriers.

It planned to call en route at Singapore to replace the St. Vincent and Grenadines flag with the Russian one. The pirates captured the ship at the exit from the Bay of Aden.
More here:
An Irish man is among six tugboat crew members who have been seized by pirates off the coast of Somalia.

He was on board the Danish-owned Svitzer Korsakov, which was captured early on Friday morning and is now at anchor in Somali waters.

The vessel also has a British captain and four Russian crew members.

The Republic's Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin said it was offering consular assistance to the Irish citizen's family.

"The department is aware of the incident and is monitoring the situation closely," a spokeswoman said.

The newly built ship was travelling from St Petersburg to Sakhalin Island, between north west Japan and Russia.

The Irish crew member is understood to be the chief engineer. It is not known what part of the island he is from.

Patrick Adamson, of the ship's owners, Svitzer, said: "We have been in touch with both the master of the vessel and the hijackers.

"The crew's morale is good, they are getting some sleep and are being fed," he said.

A statement from the company added: "Appropriate measures are in place to seek the safe release of the crew, and their families continue to receive support."
And here.

UPDATE: Tug may be similar to the one pictured below from here:

More info here.

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