Syrian Sugar Ship Surprisingly Freed By Somali Pirates

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MV SYRIA STAR was given up by the Puntland group of Somali pirates after Puntland security forces intervened. The vessel was the latest hi-jack and seized on Thursday, 5. Aug 2010, in the late afternoon at 18h15 local time (15h15 UTC) by Somali pirates from Puntland in position 1311N 04904E.

The St Vincent and Grenadines flagged MV SYRIA STAR (IMO number 7608136) and its crew of 24 was sailing west in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor through the Gulf of Aden. MV SYRIA STAR reported to the navies that she was under attack from pirates who had climbed on board and fired shots at the crew, EU NAVFOR reported. Helicopters were immediately dispatched to the vessel and tried to establish communications with the SYRIA STAR, which had stopped in the water. They found an abandoned skiff nearby, containing fuel and ammunition.

When warships arrived on the scene shortly after, the SYRIA STAR had already reversed course and was heading South East back towards the Horn of Africa under the control of the pirates, was stated by the European Naval Command in charge of Operation Atalanta. The pirates did not respond to attempts to contact them by radio. The crew of 24 comprises of 22 Syrians and two Egyptians, the EU reported, though the actual crew-list has not yet been released and the vessel usually also has Bangladeshi and Sudanese crew members. The crew is not covered by an ITF approved CBA agreement.

The vessel’s safety management certificate (IACS white list) had been withdrawn by Lloyds on 13-01-2005 and it is classified at present by Nippon Kaiji Kyokai. The onion-rooted line of responsibilities for the ship shows as ISM manager REEM MARITIME LTD and as ship manager LOGAN SHIPHOLDING CO, who have as front and registered owner REEM MARITIME LTD, all based at the same location in Tartus, Syria. Red Sea Navigation owns a fleet of eight cargo ships, of which the MV Suez is the youngest. The last successful communication between the ship’s captain and the company took place three hours after the hijack, after that the lines were cut.

Observers working with ECOTERRA Intl. in Somalia reported that last night the pirate group gave the vessel up close to Bosaso after Puntland security forces had vowed to attack the hostage takers on the vessel no matter what. Reportedly the sugar cargo is destined for a wealthy business outfit in neighbouring Somaliland and a quick resolution was achieved between the clans.

Data source for this story: ECOTERRA Intl

Alan Gray is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of NewsBlaze Daily News and other online newspapers. He prefers to edit, rather than write, but sometimes an issue rears it’s head and makes him start pounding the keyboard. Alan has a fascination with making video and video editing, so watch out if he points his Canon 7d in your direction.