Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pirates Knew Samho Jewelry Route in Advance

As Reported HERE
'Pirates knew Samho route in advance'
Wednesday, 02.Feb.2011, 13:24 (GMT+2)

The group of Somali pirates who hijacked the 11,500-ton Samho Jewelry in the Arabian Sea on Jan. 15 knew in advance the freighter’s route, Korean investigators said Tuesday.
The group of Somali pirates who hijacked the 11,500-ton Samho Jewelry in the Arabian Sea on Jan. 15 knew in advance the freighter’s route, Korean investigators said Tuesday.
On the third day of questioning, a special investigation team, set up at the Coast Guard South Regional Headquarters in Namhae, South Gyeongsang Province, said the 13 Somali pirates ― eight dead and five captured _ specifically targeted the Korean freighter after learning that another ship owned by the same shipping company was released in November last year after paying a huge ransom.
The 300,000-ton Samho Dream was released after being held by Somali pirates for seven months. The company reportedly paid more than $9 million.
``After questioning the five captured Somali pirates brought here for prosecution, we have discovered circumstantial evidence that the pirates specifically went after the Samho Jewelry for a larger sum of money. We think they acquired the information on the Korean freighter in advance and plotted taking it over,’’ a senior official at the investigation team said.
One of five captured pirates stated that the group leader, who was shot dead during the rescue operation by South Korean Navy commandos on Jan. 21, obtained information on the Samho Jewelry and decided to hijack the ship, the official said.
``Where they seized the freighter is more than 2,000 kilometers away from their base. It means that they knew of its route in advance. Our investigation is focused on where and how the pirates acquired such information,’’ he said.
European brokers having access to business-related information of shipping firms have been suspected of providing shipping routes and other data to Somali pirates in return for handsome commissions.
The pirates were also found to have spent 15 days together in a training camp to plot taking over the freighter. Armed with rifles and other weaponry, they rode on a small speedboat and boarded the Samho Jewelry using a ladder.
Since the five pirates were brought to the southern port city of Busan Sunday, they have been grilled by the special investigation team, primarily over how they hijacked the chemical carrier and who shot the 58-year-old captain, who was seriously wounded during the rescue operation. He is currently in intensive care at a hospital in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province. The ship’s other 20 crewmembers were rescued unharmed.
A pirate named Arai Mahomed had stated that he shot the captain Sunday, but later changed his statement, insisting that he was not the one who pulled the trigger. He even said he had never touched a gun in his life.
With Mahomed and four other pirates continuing to deny the allegation, investigators plan to conduct simultaneous questioning with the Korean sailors scheduled to return at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Some of crew had already said in a written statement that it was Mahomed who shot Seok.
As soon as they arrive here, they will be brought to the investigation headquarters and asked to give a statement about the incident, investigators said.
Meanwhile, one of the pirates named Serum Abdullah expressed a desire to live here as a Korean national, one of the interrogators said. Abdullah, who was a cook before becoming a pirate, said Korea seems to be a nice country. Other pirates also reportedly said the detention center is better than most hotels in Africa.

No comments:

Post a Comment