Somali pirates release Syrian sugar ship

15:08, August 08, 2010      

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Somali pirates have freed St Vincent and Grenadines flagged MV Syria Star sugar cargo vessel which was hijacked in the Gulf of Adenwith 24 crew onboard on Thursday, European Union naval force said on Saturday.

Naval Force spokesman JohnHarboursaid initial reports are that the pirates left the ship of their own accord utilising one on the rescue boats. "The Syrian Star that was hijacked on Thursday in the eastern part of Gulf of Adenis now free. Late at night (Friday) the MV Syrian Star requested medical assistance for two crewmembers that were injured in the initial hijack," Harbour said.

He said the EU Naval Force warship FGS Schleswig-Holstein gave medical assistance to the crew of the 18,838 deadweight ship and which was seized as it was sailing west in the internationally recommended transit corridor through the Gulf of Aden with a cargo sugar.

The vessel has a predominantly Syrian crew, with 22 Syrians and 2 Egyptians, Harbour said. Harbour said the warship FGS Schleswig- Holstein was in the vicinity of the MV Syrian Star and sent her helicopter with a medical team onboard in order to assist the vessel. "On arriving on the Syrian Star they found a third member of the crew who had been injured in a work related incident. FGS Schleswig-Holstein is standing by to conduct a medical evacuation if required," he said. "It is always good to hear a hijacked ship is free and now EU Naval Force will give the injured crew members the medical assistance they require," Force Commander Rear Admiral Jan Thornqvist said.

Somaliais at the entrance to the Gulf of Aden, which leads to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, one of the world's most important shipping channels.

The country has been plagued by factional fighting between warlords and hasn't had a functioning central administration since the 1991 ouster of former dictator Mohammed Siad Barre.

International military officials have vowed to fight Somali pirates who have moved into the waters off the coast of East Africa, as attacks begin to decrease.

Crews have been successfully repelling more attacks, making it harder for pirates to capture ships and earn multi-million-dollar ransoms. But the pirates have responded more violently.

Many ship owners are investing in physical defences like stringing razor wire and adding fire hoses that can hit attackers with streams of high-pressure water. Some ships are even having electric fence-style systems installed.

Source: Xinhua


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