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Pirates threat to execute seafarers

Pirates threat to execute seafarers
Somali pirates are threatening to execute seafarers on board hijacked Cosco Qingdao panamax De Xin Hai if any attempt is made to recover the vessel.

Somali pirates are threatening to execute seafarers on board hijacked Cosco Qingdao panamax De Xin Hai if any attempt is made to recover the vessel.

Somali pirates are threatening to execute seafarers on board hijacked Cosco Qingdao panamax De Xin Hai if any attempt is made to recover the vessel, according to a report carried on Radio Television Hong Kong. The station said it was quoting an associate of the captors, but did not give his name.

The development comes after the Chinese authorities confirmed that an ?all out? effort is to be mounted to take back the captured 2008-built, 76,432 dwt bulk carrier and its crew of 25. Some local military sources have suggested that the Chinese navy, which has assets in the Gulf of Aden, is already working on a rescue plan.

The Chinese foreign ministry has advised vessels to avoid the region ?in case of accident or danger?. It is not immediately clear whether the policy amounts to an instruction or is simply advisory.

Foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told a press briefing in Beijing that China has already launched a ?contingency mechanism? in the wake of the hijacking, and ordered missions abroad to keep a watching brief.

?We will continue to follow closely the developments and make all-out efforts to rescue the hijacked ship and personnel,? he said, without giving further details.

A spokesman with Qingdao Ocean Shipping told that the company is working on comforting the families of those kidnapped, and is co-operating with the transport ministry and other relevant ministries.

Monday"s hijack marks the first successful attack on a Chinese vessel since the rising Asian giant deployed three naval warships to anti-piracy duties in 2008.

An attack on a Chinese vessel last year was repelled when the crew used homemade Molotov cocktails to fight off their assailants.

Nick Davis of Gulf of Aden Group Transits, a maritime security consultancy, pointed out that the hijack took place 60 degrees east. Accordingly, De Xin Hai"s course was in line with current recommendations from industry bodies to sail out to 60 degrees or at least 600 nm off the coast.

?This has now created a dilemma. Will the agencies now say 800 nm and then 1,000 nm? All they are doing is displacing the threat over a much wider geographic area, which will make ships ten times harder to protect, as the pirates will know where to find the ships based on the recommendations.

?The coalition and other navies are doing a fantastic job but they are putting a plaster on a major trauma and they cannot sustain or increase the level of warships and the problem on land in Somalia is not going away any time soon.?

Mr Davis added that De Xin Hai may have been attacked in the Gulf of Aden on June 30, but repelled the pirates thanks to electric fencing and various other countermeasures. But on this occasion, it appears not to have registered its presence with naval forces in the area.

Meanwhile, a pirate attack on 4,110 dwt, 1993-built general cargoship Thor Spring in the Gulf of Aden last Friday was repulsed after a German frigate fired warning shots on the attackers, the German defence ministry has confirmed.

The pirates headed back to the coast of Somalia on a speedboat with the frigate"s helicopter keeping a close watch overhead. The frigate, named as Augsburg, is deployed with Operation Enduring Freedom and is participating in anti-piracy patrols in the gulf.

www.TurkishMaritime.com.tr

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