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Monday, June 08, 2009

Somali Pirates: Did that Nigerian Tug Escape?

The good news is that after about 10 months in captivity (see here for report of capture in August 08), the crew of a Nigerian tug is now free from the Somali pirates. Now comes a report that suggests the tug crew seized the opportunity for a little self-rescue: Latest information from T/B YENEGOA OCEAN speak of an escape:
Reports from Hawo (Habo,Xabo) and Alula claim that the captain of the vessel used an unobserved moment, when only one guard was on board to fool his captors, start up the engines and escape. The lone Somali guard is reported to have reached the shore by swimming. The vessel with her unharmed crew then disappeared from the coast and due to nightfall a short while later could not be followed by her captors. Having radio communication the nearest naval vessels were informed. The Royal Netherlands Navy ship De Seven Provinciƫn received the call at 21h00 and could catch up with the tug the next morning at around 5h00 local time. The Dutch Navy then was providing medical and other assistance to the 10 men all-Nigerian crew. During the earlier times when the vessel was commandeered by the Somali sea-shifta, the Nigerian owned, Panama-flagged AHTS YENEGOA was also identified as a pirate "mother ship" operating under the calls "SEA OCEAN" or "PUMA OCEAN" and several times fooled naval forces as a vessel in distress, thereby attracting the attention of naval forces, while the pirates did strike at other places. The captain and crew then made their captors believe it had ran out of fuel, which stopped these activities.
If true, good on the Nigerians.

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