Piracy & Ship Attacks May 18, 2010

Yemen sentences Somali pirates to death

A Yemeni court has sentenced six Somali pirates to death and jailed six others for the hijacking of a Yemeni oil tanker. The ship was seized by the pirates in April last year, and was rescued by Yemeni forces.

After hearing their sentencing the pirates shouted that there had been no evidence produced and no witnesses had been allowed to testify.

The men sentenced to death were found guilty of killing two of the oil tanker’s crew. The convicted men, ranging from 18 to 47 years old, are demanding the right to appeal the sentence.

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UK flagged chemical tanker released

Thursday morning (May 13) a ransom drop was made to the pirate group holding the ST JAMES PARK, a UK flagged chemical tanker. The tanker was hijacked by pirates on December 28, 2009 and was being held at Garacaad.

The St James Park had been on route to Thailand when she was attacked. She has a crew of 26 and is now safely underway to her intended destination.

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Pirates freed by Russia are now expected dead

After freeing a Russian tanker, a Russian warship captured the 10 pirates and took aboard the body of an eleventh who was killed during the rescue mission.

Russia promised to prosecute the pirates to the fullest extent of the law only to later set the pirates free. Complications with the legal parameters that surround the prosecution of pirates may be why Russia set them free. Some reports say that Russian officials have said they were not willing to feed or spend money on a trial for the pirates.

Military medics treated the wounded pirates and they were set free in their skiff. With them, water, food and all their other possessions, except their weapons and navigation equipment. The dead pirates body was also loaded onto the boat and they were sent to the nearest coast, towards Somalia.

The skiff was freed more than 300 miles from shore and reports say it has not reached shore. It is expected that all the pirates are dead.

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Accused Somali pirate to appear in New York court

Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse is accused of seizing a ship by force, piracy, kidnapping and hostage taking and possession of a machine gun. He is also charged with two other hijackings. If convicted he faces life in prison.

Muse allegedly hijacked the U.S. flagged Maersk Alabama in the Indian Ocean in April 2009, about 350 miles off the coast of Somalia. Muse and others took Capt. Richard Phillips hostage on a lifeboat, demanding ransom for the ship and the captains safe return.

Muse is expected to appear at a pretrial hearing today in a New York federal court.