SOMALIA: Puntland forces free hijacked ship

Published: June 3, 2010

On Thursday, Puntland’s security forces stormed a hijacked cargo vessel and captured the pirates holding it after a brief shootout, authorities said.
The QSM Dubai had been hijacked early Wednesday in the Gulf of Aden while headed for the port of Bosaso in Puntland.
According to the owners, the vessel sailed from Dubai port and carried goods for Somalia.
“….our forces stormed the ship after pirates refused to surrender….”, said Said Mohamed Raage, Puntland’s minister of marine transport and ports.
The captain of the ship was killed by the pirates, at least two officers were wounded in the gunfight, one seriously.
All seven pirates were detained, says the minister.
It is not the first rescue operation by the Puntland forces. In 2008 and 2009, Puntland forces succesfully freed two hijacked ships, rescuing the hostages and arresting almost 20 pirates.
“We can’t allow pirates to hijack all Somali-bound cargo ships, this will seriously hurt our economy and the poor people of Somalia,” Mr. Raage said.
Puntland leaders have previously criticized the lack of aid from foreign powers to help the region fight piracy. In 2009 Puntland state requested $20 million dollars annually to combat domestic piracy.
In Puntland, prisons are stretched to their limits with more than 300 arrested pirates and Puntland needed assistance to increase its jail capacity say officials.
Somali pirates are currently holding at least 19 vessels and several hundred crew members. Piracy had emerged as an industry for a wide range of people, including brokers and facilitators, disrupting the region’s traditional economy.
Horseed Media

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