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News: Pirates Release MV Beluga Nomination

April 13, 2011 - 16:03:04 UTC

MV Belgua Nomination released from pirate control; assisted to safety by 2 tugs. 

The German-owned multi-purpose MV Belgua Nomination is reported to have been released from Somali pirate control after 12 weeks captivity. Although the negotiations on payment of any ransom have been somewhat shrouded, it is believed a $5 million ransom had been agreed with the pirates from the stronghold of Harardhere.

The vessel is now en route towards the Kenyan coast and is being assisted by 2 tugs on either side of the freed vessel. The vessel has been stated as moving slowly, indicating there may be some mechanical problem. 

On the afternoon of 22 January 2011, the MV Beluga Nomination was attacked by a skiff with small arms used against the vessel during the attack, which took place in the Indian Ocean in position 0145N 05635E, approximately 390NM North of the Seychelles.

MV Beluga Nomination is an Antigua and Barbuda-flagged, German-owned, general cargo vessel which was on passage to Port Victoria in the Seychelles when it came under attack. The original crew of 12 (Polish Master, 7 Filipinos, 2 Russians and 2 Ukrainians) suffered tragic consequences following a Danish warship's commando team attempt to overwhelm the pirates. The attempt failed although two seamen, a Ukrainian and a Filipino managed to escape in one of the ships' lifeboats. It was reported that one crewman, the Bosun, had been executed and another had died during the confusion of the attempted rescue.

The MV Beluga Nomination was boarded by pirates, the crew went into a citadel, where they remained for 2 days. The pirates were eventually able to breach and enter the citadel. The episode gave rise to criticism of the naval forces' inability to provide assistance in a timely manner. The German shipowners called on their government for the use of armed guards on German vessels. A debate that has gained greater support across the shipping industry.

The release follows shortly after the release of MV Irene SL, reportedly for a record ransom payment of over $13 million, and the MV Thor Nexus, for reportedly, $5 million. Over 500 seafarers remain held hostage with 27 vessels still under pirate control.

MV Beluga Nomination (Image Source: EUNAVFOR)

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