Ship's crew seize back control from Somali pirates | world | Hindustan Times
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Ship's crew seize back control from Somali pirates

world Updated: Jun 02, 2010 19:07 IST

The crew of a Libyan cargo ship seized back control from Somali pirates on Wednesday after fighting in which some of their captors are believed to have died and a crew member was wounded, the EU said.

"The hijacked Libyan-owned merchant vessel RIM reported that the crew had successfully retaken control of the ship. One of the crew members was seriously injured during the incident," a spokesman for the EU anti-piracy NAVFOR naval force said.

"It is believed that some of the pirates were killed during the incident; the ship is now under the control of the crew," added NAVFOR, which sent a warship to offer help and administer medical aid to the survivors.

The mainly Syrian crew of 10 had been taken captive in February and their assailants were demanding three million dollars in ransom for their safe return.

The 4,800-tonne vessel, owned by Libya's White Sea Shipping, was attacked in the northwestern Gulf of Aden, south of the Yemeni coast.

It had set off from Romania with a crew of nine Syrians and a Romanian with an unspecified cargo. It was unclear who had been injured.

After it was captured, the pirates had taken the vessel to an area off the town of Laasgoray, on the border between Somalia's breakaway regions of Somaliland and Puntland.

The crew turned the tables on their captors as the ship was southeast of Garacad, off Somalia's northern coastline, NAVFOR said.

Somali pirates have become a chronic hazard for shipping in the region. They hijack vessels exclusively for ransom payments, which are regularly made.

The news of the successful action by the RIM's crew came shortly after NAVFOR reported that assailants armed with rocket-propelled grenades hijacked a Panama-flagged cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden with 24 crew from Bangladesh, Ghana, Egypt and Pakistan, also on Wednesday.