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Three crew die in piracy attack

Three crew die in piracy attack
THREE crew members were reported to have died in a piracy incident involving the Taiwanese tuna vessel Win Far 161, according to statements from Ecoterra?s Kenyan arm.

Three crew die in Taiwan vessel piracy attack.

THREE crew members were reported to have died in a piracy incident involving the Taiwanese tuna vessel Win Far 161, according to statements from Ecoterra"s Kenyan arm.

The ship was released after paying a ?relatively small? ransom, according to the reports.

The deaths, involving two Indonesians and one Chinese, occurred during a ten-month ordeal for the vessel, which was taken by pirates near the Seychelles on April 6 last year.

According to Taiwanese reports, the vessel had a crew of 30, comprising two Taiwanese, five Chinese, six Indonesian, and 17 Filipinos.

The Taiwanese foreign ministry in Taipei, in a statement, confirmed that the vessel was released last Thursday, and was on its way home. There was no comment on the ransom aspect.

?The Win Far 161 crew were left by the shipowner and their respective governments in an awful condition during their 10-month horror ordeal, despite the pleas of a humanitarian organisation to at least provide relief food and water,? a Reuters report quoting the Ecoterra statement said.

Social scientists and experts have recognised that foreign fishing vessels harvesting the tuna-rich waters off Somalia is a principal contributory factor in the modern-day scourge of piracy. Taiwanese trawlers, who are engaged in the trade, have been targeted previously. Local reports have suggested that two Taiwanese vessels captured in 2005 were held for six months and released after ransom payments of $50,000 each. In 2007, another vessel was reportedly let go after a $200,000 pay-off.

The problem in the last two years has also spread to mainstream shipping, with pirates typically holding vessels and crew captive for weeks or months until an acceptable ransom is negotiated. Insurance often covers the pay-offs.

The Seasearcher database of Lloyd"s List Intelligence shows the 800 gt Win Far 161 as a Taiwanese-flag ship, but has no ownership or insurance details on record.

In a separate incident, the North Korea-flagged general cargoship Rim was reported to have been captured in the Gulf of Aden earlier this month with 10 crew and a ransom demand said to be made.

Seasearcher does not have any insurance records for this ship, raising the spectre of another crew facing abandonment or worse.


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