Hijacked Ship Sinks After Pirates Release It

Just hours after their release, the 25 crewmembers onboard the RAK AFRIKANA sent a distress call because the cargo ship had a hole in the hull and was taking on large amounts of water.

The Italian warship ITS ZEFFIRO responded to the call immediately, and carried out the rescue mission. The ship’s captain told authorities he expected the ship would sink in just 5 hours.

The crew had abandoned the ship and had taken to the lifeboats. A team from the Italian warship rescued the crew by Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boats shortly after they fled.

The RAK AFRIKANA was pirated on April 11, 2010. Officials have not said what caused the hole in the hull of the ship. The crew is in considerably good health despite being held captive for 332.

The UAE owned ship built in 1981 is relatively small by today’s cargo ship standards and the vessel was reportedly badly rusted.

It is not known if the RAK AFRIKANA is still afloat at this time.

Update: The 25 crewmembers from the RAK AFRIKANA were transferred to the MV YORK, another pirated vessel that was released last week. The York was pirated on October 24, 2010 approximately 50 nautical miles east of Mombasa. The crew members from the RAK AFRIKANA along with the 17 onboard the YORK arrived safely in Mombasa, Kenya on Monday. 


Photo courtesy of EU NAVFOR