Somali Pirates

Olivia Chavassieu
Olivia Chavassieu |

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‧ What do you know about the piracy raging the coast of Somali? What do you think of this issue?

‧ How would you handle a demand of ransom? What are the pro and cons of falling into a ransom system?

‧ What do you think should be done to prevent piracy? Come up with a few anti-piracy techniques, discuss them with your class and select the three best techniques.

Refers to:

Somali pirates 'agree to US$3.5m ransom' for release of Chinese ship

by Kristine Kwok and Reuters, South China Morning Post, November 24, 2009

The Chinese bulk carrier hijacked by Somali pirates last month could be released as soon as next week, with the ship's owners agreeing to a ransom of US$3.5 million, one of the pirates said yesterday.

'Negotiations between us and the owners to free the Chinese ship are going on now,' he said from their stronghold of Haradheere. 'We agreed on US$3.5 million to free the ship.'

Hijacked on October 19 in the Indian Ocean with 25 crew aboard, the De Xin Hai was taken to Hobyo, on the central Somali coast. A video released earlier this month showed the undamaged ship docked at the port.

The Ministry of National Defence has stepped up its anti-piracy efforts since the hijacking, but the authorities have been reluctant to reveal information about the negotiations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday it was not able to provide any information about the continuing talks. Cosco Qingdao, the owner of the ship, said it was not authorised to reveal any information.

A staff member at the UK P&I Club confirmed yesterday that it had insured the De Xin Hai, but refused to comment on the remarks by the Somali pirate. Industry insiders said ransoms for hijacked ships were sometimes paid by insurers and the negotiated package would include the ship and the crew members.

Mainland media yesterday highlighted the escape of another ship, owned by Cosco Hong Kong, from a Somali pirate attack two weeks ago. Two injured crew members on board the Fu Qiang received a lavish welcome when they returned to Guangzhou at the weekend. Hong Xianwen and Yan Bo were hailed as heroes for fighting off three pirate attacks on November 12 in the Gulf of Aden, along with other colleagues. They both suffered arm injuries from gunshots.

The Workers' Daily hailed their injuries as a 'sacrifice' to protect national assets worth almost 200 million yuan (HK$227 million).

The Fu Qiang was carrying 70,000 tonnes of cargo from Indonesia to Italy when the attacks took place.

Crew members fended off the armed pirates by firing flares, petrol bombs and caustic lime powder, according to state media reports.

Because of the rampant piracy along its route, the Fu Qiang's captain, Li Gang, had stressed the importance of security and self defence to crew members, the Workers' Daily reported.

Crew members spent their spare time studying anti-piracy techniques and the ship was equipped with two barrels of petrol, plenty of flares and home-made petrol bombs before setting sail. The hijacking of the De Xin Hai has prompted China to take a more proactive approach in international piracy co-operation. Beijing hosted an international anti-piracy meeting earlier this month.