Thursday, June 3, 2010

Piracy Continues Unabated As Bulk Carriers And Container Ships Targeted

But What About the Mystery of MV Rim ?
Shipping News Feature

SOMALIA – GULF OF ADEN – Just because pirate attacks don’t make daily headlines any more, they have become so common they are no longer ‘newsworthy’, this doesn’t mean the evil trade has ceased. The crime is somewhat seasonal, monsoons from May to September limit the attacks but this week alone a bulk carrier and container ship fought off attempted hijacks whilst a cargo ship, the 15,000-tonne Panama-flagged ship MV QSM Dubai, with 24 crew aboard, was reportedly captured yesterday by 6 pirates armed with rocket propelled grenades.

Only in the most interesting cases, like that of the ‘Arctic Sea’*** manage to maintain the attention of the general press, and the mysteries surrounding the MV Rim is rapidly becoming a case in point. According to ECOTERRA the ancient ship, carrying clay bound for Yemen from Eritrea, was seized by pirates in February 2009. Although listed as Libyan owned, the uninsured vessel was said to have been purchased by North Korea and the vessel en route to the scrap yards in India.

Now the Syrian crew of ten, while awaiting the result of negotiations to free them, apparently overpowered their captors and, according to reports, killed nine of them, captured six more whilst incurring one serious casualty themselves. The rumours surrounding the ownership and cargo of the 4,800 tonne freighter persist however.

The reported ransom of $3 million seems a little ambitious for a small ship on its final voyage and there are whispers that the vessel in fact carried weapons bound for Yemeni rebels. There are also reports that different pirate factors and their agents fought over possession of the Rim which appears strange for such a low value hostage.

A helicopter despatched from SPS Victoria, the attending EU warship intended to give medical assistance to the Rim, established that the vessel was indeed free and presumably more news of her condition and cargo will follow.

Pic: SBS Victoria

***Readers wishing to follow the saga should type Arctic Sea into the news search and follow the tale in chronological order.