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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Somali Pirates Burn Ship in Frustration, Crew Saved, Ship Abandoned

Burning Pacific Express (Italian Navy photo)
Reported on the Italian Navy website here and by MarineLog as Italian Navy rescues crew after fleeing pirates set ship on fire. From the Italian Navy site:
This morning, the destroyer Andrea Doria, engaged in the Indian Ocean as part of NATO's anti-piracy mission "Ocean Shield," intervened to support the Cypriot freighter "Pacific Express", the subject of an attempted hijack by armed pirates.

The attack, thwarted by the prompt reaction of the merchant's crew, who closed themselves in the citadel (the protected part of the superstructure), lasted almost all night and also caused a fire on board.

Italian destroyer Andrea Doria
Upon its arrival in the area, about 200 miles east of Mombasa, Andrea Doria approached the merchant, and verified the absence of pirates on board, who allegedly fled after spotting the military unit, and sent a security team to free the crew.

Then the Captain of the Pacific Express, given the severity of the fire, said the ship is lost and asked for help to abandon ship.

Andrea Doria embarked the entire crew of the merchant (Ukrainian captain and Filipino sailors, 25) and headed to Mombasa where the crew requested to be landed. ***
Thank goodness no lives were lost. You can expect more of this sort of behavior by the pirates. Citadels do protect crews, but are not a solution unto themselves.

Pacific Express is the same ship reported on as being attacked (and then "safe') in an earlier post here.

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