June 23 Somali pirates freed Dutch freighter the Marathon on Tuesday, however one of the Ukrainian crew was shot dead by the pirates, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said. The 2,575-tonne Marathon, with eight Ukrainian citizens aboard, was sailing through the Gulf of Aden when it was seized on May 7. [nLN68107]
On Monday pirates in Somalia said they had freed the seven crew members of a captured Seychelles research yacht, the Indian Ocean Explorer which was seized at the end of March near the Seychelles' island of Assumption. Here are details of some ships believed to be under pirate control and some facts about the increase in piracy:
JAIKUR-I: Seized Oct. 2, 2008 - The 21,040-tonne general cargo ship was detained after a dispute with the owners over damaged cargo. Most of the 21 crew were released last month.
MASINDRA 7: Seized on Dec. 16, 2008. The Malaysian-owned tugboat, was seized with a barge off the Yemeni coast. The tug has about 11 Indonesian crew.
SERENITY: The catamaran sailing for Madagascar from the Seychelles with three people aboard, was seized in March 2009.
INDIAN OCEAN EXPLORER: Seized March 2009. The 35-metre boat was built in Hamburg as an oceanographic research vessel. It accommodates about 12 passengers.
HANSA STAVANGER: Seized April 4, 2009. The 20,000-tonne German container vessel was captured about 400 miles off the southern Somali port of Kismayu, between the Seychelles and Kenya. The vessel had a German captain and three Russians, two Ukrainians and 14 Filipinos on board.
WIN FAR 161: Taiwanese tuna boat, seized April 6, 2009.
SHUGAA-AL-MADHI: Seized April 9, 2009, the fishing boat had 13 crew.
MOMTAZ 1: Seized April 10, 2009. The Egyptian fishing vessel was detained with 18 crew.
BUCCANEER: Seized April 11, 2009. The Italian tugboat, owned by Micoperi Marine Contractors, was carrying 10 Italians, five Romanians and a Croatian, and was seized towing two barges while travelling westbound through the Gulf of Aden.
IRENE E.M.: Seized April 14, 2009. The St. Vincent and the Grenadines-flagged Greek-owned bulk carrier was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden. Its Filipino crew of 22 was unharmed.
POMPEI: Seized April 18, 2009. The Belgian dredging vessel and its 10 crew were hijacked about 370 miles from the Somali coast en route to the Seychelles. It had two Belgians, four Croatians, one Dutchman and three Filipinos on board.
ARIANA: Seized May 2, 2009. The Ariana was seized north of Madagascar en route to the Middle East from Brazil. The 24-strong Ukrainian crew were said to be unhurt. The ship, flying a Maltese flag, belongs to All Oceans shipping in Greece. A Ukrainian ship was hijacked on the same day in the Indian Ocean with a cargo including U.N. vehicles. Maritime officials were unable to confirm this seizure.
VICTORIA: Seized on May 5, 2009. The Antigua and Barbuda- flagged cargo vessel was hijacked by eight pirates in the Gulf of Aden on its way to the port of Jeddah. The 146-metre ship had a crew of 10.
CHARELLE: Seized on June 12, 2009. The 2,800-tonne cargo ship carrying about nine crew, was attacked 60 miles south of Oman. Lloyds reported the vessel was owned by shipping firm Tarmstedt International.
* PIRACY KEY FACTS:
-- In 2008 there were 293 incidents of piracy against ships worldwide, 11 percent up on the year before. Attacks off Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden almost trebled.
-- In 2008, there were 111 incidents including 42 vessels hijacked in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. So far in 2009, there have been 31 successful hijackings from 143 attempted attacks. -- Nearly 20,000 ships pass through the Gulf of Aden each year, heading to and from the Suez Canal.
Sources: Reuters/Ecoterra International/International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre/Lloyds List/Inquirer.net
(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: africa.reuters.com/ ) (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit;)