Crew member swims for two days to escape pirates

A crew member of a Japanese chemical tanker hijacked by pirates off the Somali coast on October 28 escaped and has been rescued after spending two days at sea, a maritime official said on Monday.

”We are informed that one crew member escaped from the vessel, swam and was rescued,” said Andrew Mwangura, head of the Kenya chapter of the Seafarers’ Assistance Programme.

The Golden Nori was hijacked with 23 crew members aboard, including two South Koreans.

”After the vessel was hijacked, the crew member swam for two days, after which he was saved and he is now reported to be in South Korea,” said Mwangura, adding that he could not confirm for the moment if the man was South Korean.

Mwangura said ”ransom talks are currently under way in Singapore and Malaysia” in a bid to free the vessel. He explained that the size of ransom depended on the cost, type and ownership of the cargo, the value and nationality of the ship as well as the nationality of the crew. ”The talks are usually held in secret.”

Rampant piracy off Somalia’s vast coastline stopped in the second half of 2006 during six months of strict rule by an Islamist movement that was ousted by Ethiopian and Somali government troops at the end of the year.

Somalia lies at the mouth of the Red Sea — on a major Indian Ocean trade route between Asia and Europe via the Suez Canal — and has lacked a functional government since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

The International Maritime Bureau has urged freighters to stay away from Somalia, whose 3 700km coastline is a hot spot for sea ambushes.

The French navy is due mid-November to deploy a vessel to protect United Nations World Food Programme-charted ships, which have been targeted while ferrying supplies to Somalia in recent months.

A surge of piracy off the Horn of Africa nation has put Somalia alongside Indonesia and Bangladesh as the worst zones in sea ambushes.

But the United States navy, part of the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CTF-150), based in Djibouti to fight terrorism in the volatile region, has upped its crackdown on pirates. It has urged the pirates to abandon the vessels.

The CTF-150 also operates under international maritime conventions to secure international waters for commercial shipping and fishing. — Sapa-AFP

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Zuma takes aim at Zondo following release of final report

Former president intends to review aspects of the full report, in which he has been directly implicated in wide-scale looting of the state

Gauteng ANC conference likely to produce mixed bag of leaders

No slate is expected to emerge victorious as poorly coordinated conference finally gets under way

Art imitates life at the National Arts Festival

This year’s National Arts Festival in Makhanda - the first live one since the pandemic - tackles unemployment, the Marikana Massacre and the manner in which black women in society are written about

Pride is a heavy price to pay

While constitutionally protected, the LGBTQIA+ community is being failed by the state

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…