Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pirates Leave Captured General Cargo Vessel Off Somalia

Sweet Ending for Sugar Ship 'Syria Star'
Shipping News Feature

SOMALIA – After her seizure by armed men on Thursday the MV ‘Syria Star’, a 18,838 dwt general cargo vessel, was released by her captors late on Friday night. The crew of twenty four, 22 Syrian and 2 Egyptians, on the St Vincent and Grenadines flagged vessel were largely unharmed but three who were carrying injuries, two of which were incurred in the original attack, have been treated by a helicopter borne medical team from the EU NAVFOR warship FGS Schleswig-Holstein.

EU forces were scrambled to the site of the assault but initially the pirates avoided detection by reversing the ships original course, it is not known for certain what persuaded the kidnappers to flee the Syria Star, which they did in one of the ships boats. Speaking of the capture EU NAVFOR Force Commander Rear Admiral Jan Thörnqvist said:

‘It is always good to hear a hijacked ship is free and now EU NAVFOR will give the injured crew members the medical assistance they require’.

The pirates abandoned attack vessel was taken by EU forces and found to contain weapons and fuel. The ship had managed to contact the EU naval task force during the initial attack and it is believed the proximity of a rescue force is likely to have panicked the pirates into leaving with whatever valuables they could seize.