Somali pirates Demands $27m for Prantalay

Wednesday February 09, 2011 - 16:27:01 in News In English by Xarunta Dhexe
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    Somali pirates Demands $27m for Prantalay

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The Somali pirates had demanded a $9 million ransom for each of the three Prantalay fishing trawlers, to release 20 hostages and the vessels. They had made the demand, via the satellite communication system installed onboard, from Song Sang, the owner of PT Interfisheries.

The 20 were rescued by the Indian Navy on January 28, nearly 10 months after they were held captive in Somali waters.

"My employees said the pirates had anchored our vessels in between 30 other hijacked merchant vessels with people of various nationalities," Sang told TOI on Tuesday.

He said the pirates communicated with him occasionally via the satellite system. "The pirates had a brief talk an hour after they hijacked my vessels on April 18 last year. They demanded $3 million initially. The amount increased to $6 million and finally touched the $9 million figure," he said. But, he said, he rejected their demands.

A total of 77 fishermen from Thailand and Myanmar were onboard the three fishing trawlers (Prantalay 11, 12 and 14) that embarked from Djibouti port to catch tuna fish on April 18, 2010. "The fishermen's families thought that all of them were killed and there was little chance for their survival," he said.

Sirapob Wanon, one of the 20 rescued fishermen of Prantalay-14, said that 25 pirates had attacked the vessels and took all hostage.

The vessels had sailed along the East African coast about 1,200 nautical miles into the sea when the pirates hijacked the vessels with sophisticated weapons. "We lost hope of returning home," Wanon told TOI.

"For 10 months, 27 of us survived a 'death life'. When the foodgrains onboard got over, the pirates allowed us to fish under their surveillance. Sometimes, the pirates used to share food with us," Wanon said.

Another fisherman said the pirates fought among themselves very often. "They never allowed us to move out of the vessel by ourselves. Inadequate medical facilities resulted in the deaths of five colleagues. The pirates had also shot two fishermen and threw their bodies into the sea," he said.

Family members of the fishermen had almost lost hope about them returning alive. "My elderly parents got in touch with Sang to know about my well-being when the vessel was hijacked. But we were not allowed to communicate. On January 28, the Indian Navy gave all of us a chance to talk to our family members. They are eagerly awaiting our return," Wanon said.

Sang said four Thai fishermen who had completed their formalities would fly back home on Thursday.

"My duty is to help my employees and provide proper arrangements before they return, which may take some time," he said.

Deputy police commissioner (ports) Quaiser Khalid said, "The fishermen were witness to the hijack incident at sea. We are recording their statements before clearing them."

By: Rohosafi
Akhrise hoos kadhiibo fikirkaaga

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