Somali pirates currently hold at least 504 hostages or captives – including a South-African yachting couple – as well as 30 large ships, plus 18 smaller foreign vessels and one stranded barge.
This is the latest tally, according to the Ecoterra, which claimed, that “even EU NAVFOR, who mostly only counts high-value, often British insured vessels, admitted now that many dozens of vessels were sea-jacked despite their multi-million Euro efforts to protect shipping.”
Ecoterra claims to be “the first group to clearly and publicly state that the piracy phenomenon off the Somali coasts can only become an issue of the past again, if tangible and sustainable, appropriate and holistic development for the coastal communities kicks in.”
According to Ecoterra, “Solutions to piracy have to tackle the root causes: Abhorrent poverty, environmental degradation, injustice, outside interference,” adding that while billions are spent “for the navies, for the general militarization or for mercenaries or conferences, still no real and financially substantial help is coming forward to pacify and develop the coastal areas of Somalia.”
SHOOT-OUT OVER SOMALI PIRATE RANSOM ENDANGERS CREW
Despite clear information about a Mexican stand-off between two pirate groups on board of MV DOVER, which Ecoterra last published just two days ago, the reduced ransom was dropped by a risk-management company from an aircraft yesterday, on 28. September, close to the vessel.
According to Ecoterra, at first it then seemed that local elders had achieved an understanding and found a way forward to come to a safe conclusion of the hostage situation – averting bloodshed. This even seemed to hold while the ransom was retrieved by two selected teams. But Ecoterra said that last night serious fire-fights broke out between the feuding pirates and continued today, with the fighting even spreading this evening to areas on shore.
Reports from officials of the area are contradictory, while local observers speak of an extremely dangerous situation.
So far the crew seems to be unharmed and is still held on the vessel, reported Ecoterra, adding that further detailed reports awaited.