Friday, January 23, 2009

Tanker Biscaglia released by Somali pirates

As dawn was breaking here in the Eastern time zone of North America, AFP reports that the product tanker MT Biscaglia was released by pirates, after having been seized on November 28 of last year. The vessel's crew - twenty-five Indian and three Bangladeshi mariners - were able to weigh anchor and leave their captors behind sometime around 1500 hours local time today (1200 GMT/0700 ET). Earlier this week I had been told by sources in East Africa that the MV Faina - the vessel with the tanks aboard - was about to be released, though their information may have actually been related to the Biscaglia.

Some may remember that the Biscaglia is the vessel that was hijacked in the Gulf of Aden with three private security guards aboard, as I wrote about last year. Fred Fry highlighted an article and some dramatic photos from the website of the British newspaper The Mirror, which show the pirates coralling the tanker's crew while the security guards avoid being captured. The article identified two of the men in the photos as former British Para Mike Kelly, 36, and ex-Royal Marine Carl "Rocky" Maron, 44, and says they were paid £10,000 a month to help safegaurd the vessel on its voyage. The photos below were taken by French naval personnel from a helicopter and are well worth a re-visit.

Mike Kelly and Rocky Maron (right) on the Biscaglia's monkey island.
armed pirates (left) and shattered wheelhouse window in front of huddled crew.

1 comment:

Fred Fry said...

Well, nice to be headed to bed after reading some good news for a change!