Pirates Seize Two Ships Over the Weekend, Set One Free

Published Jan 14, 2011 2:03 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Saturday night pirates seized a liquefied petroleum gas tanker and the following day took control of a German cargo ship.

EU NAVFOR reports that the Singapore-flagged MV YORK was en route from Mombasa to Mahe in the Seychelles when two skiffs attacked it, about 50 nautical miles off the coast of Mombasa.

The nearby Turkish warship GAZIANTEP launched her helicopter to investigate, spotting armed pirates onboard.

The LPG tanker was drifting but began moving towards the Somali coast at 10 knots Sunday morning. The fishing vessel, GOLDEN WAVE, pirated on October 9, was coincidentally seen in the vicinity of the tanker.

The MV YORK has a crew of 17 (one German, two Ukrainians and 14 Filipinos). It is owned by York Maritime Co. and operated by Interunity Management Corporation SA. Both are based in Greece.

Just hours later on Sunday, pirates seized an Antigua and Barbuda-flagged cargo ship off the coast of Kenya. The BELUGA FORTUNE was en route from the United Arab Emirates to South Africa when it was seized, about 750 nautical miles off the east coast of Mombasa.

The Beluga Fortune and its crew of 16 were set free Monday without a ransom payment. The ships operator Beluga Shipping reports that the crew made a distress call and locked themselves in a safety room where they turned off the engines and fuel supply, shut down the bridge and contacted a navy intelligence plane.

The British Navy responded to assist the crew. The pirates onboard fled the ship but were not caught.

The EU NAVFOR reports that including the MV YORK, Somali pirates are currently holding 20 vessels with 428 hostages.

Photo (2) Courtesy of EU NAVFOR