PIRACY UPDATE: Somalis Hijack Greek Tanker, Feud Erupts Over U.S. and Danish Hostages, Ten Somalis Sentenced to Life in Prison

By MarEx 2012-12-18 13:48:00

Greek Chemical Tanker Hijacked with 22 Crewmen

AFP reports that alleged Somali pirates have boarded and hijacked Greek chemical tanker, the MT Liquid Velvet, along with its 22 crewmembers, taking it to a hideout in northern Somalia. 

The Elmira Tankers-managed and Minimal Enterprises-owned Liquid Velvet was taken by the assailants about 140 nautical miles of the strait that separates Yemen and Djibouti, says Kenyan maritime watcher, Andrew Mwangura.

Among the 22 crewmembers of the Marshall Islands-flagged ship are 21 Filipinos and 1 Greek.  Officials said that the Liquid Velvet was headed from the Suez Canal to India when seized in the Gulf of Aden.

So far, the pirates have not made any ransom demands, but Reuters said that a pirate named Khalif has confirmed the hijacking.

According to Ecoterra Internation, pirates are currently holding 47 vessels and more than 500 sailors.

Local Government and Somali Pirates Feud Over U.S. and Danish Hostages

A government official and a Somali pirate said that armed men from local administration attacked a group of pirates in Somalia on Tuesday as they tried to meet with local elders about two hostages from the United States and Denmark.

Top official from the administration, Mohamed Aden Tiey, said that one pirate was killed during the altercation.

The American and the Dane were both aid workers in the Danish Refugee Council and were kidnapped last month.  They are being held in a village called Eegan, near a local pirate town called Haradhere.

Ten Somali Pirates are Sentenced to Life Imprisonment in Oman

A court in Muscat, Oman has sent 10 Somali pirate suspects to prison for life, while also delivering 3-year sentences to pirates in a separate case, according to Gulf News.

The pirates sentenced to life were captures by Omani authorities as they attempted to seize a ship waiting just outside the Raysut Port for a berth.  The Royal Navy of Oman, and Royal Air Force of Oman came down on the pirates and captured all 10 without the use of any firearms. 

The sentencing is a product of Oman’s stringent stance of intolerance towards Somali piracy.