Pirates operating many hijacked ships as mother vessels, says hijacked ship’’s skipper

November 25th, 2008 - 4:28 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Nov.25 (ANI): The captain of the hijacked Japanese owned cargo vessel “MT Stolt Valor”, Prabhat Goyal, today said that Somali pirates were using many hijacked ships abandoned by their owners as mother vessels for piracy.
Addressing a news conference here on Tuesday, just hours after his return following his release by the Somali pirates, Goyal said: “I believe there are still vessels which have been abandoned by their owners and the world doesn”t know about this. There are vessels, which have been there for many months. Some vessels have got nine Nigerians and they are being used as mother vessels to hijack other vessels and there are ships, which I cannot say at the moment, there are vessels over there. When I left there were as much as 13 vessels over there.”
The waters off Somalia, which has been in anarchy since 1991, are considered one of the worlds most dangerous due to proliferation of pirates.
Attackers generally use speedboats to surround and board vessels, often justifying their actions as measures against illegal fishing and toxic dumping.
Expressing a need for speedy action Goyal said hot pursuit of the pirates by the navies of various countries was the only recourse to check the menace. Goyal hailed the Indian navy for blowing up a pirate ship in the Gulf of Aden on November 18.
“Till the time an effective government is established there (in Somalia), and it takes many years for an effective government to take charge, but this thing needs to be stopped at once. We cannot wait for three years or five years for an effective government to take charge there. The solution for the problem is hot pursuit. Hot pursuit is a word, which only navies can do. Navies can only stop it. And whatever our navy did was correct by sinking the mother ship there, and they will continue to sink many more ships in future,” said Goyal.
Speaking to the media, Goyal also recalled the ordeal the crew underwent under the pirates.
Relating two instances, where the pirates had threatened to kill them and even fired upon him, Goyal grew emotional and thanked his luck for surviving the onslaught unhurt.
Though shaken, but undeterred, Goyal said he is not afraid of sailing again through the same route.
“I will go, not once but ten times. I”m an Indian and I”m not a captain who gets afraid easily. I will again take the same route and if they capture me again, I will show them what stuff I”m made of like I did this time,” said Goyal.
Somali pirates released the cargo ship Stolt Valor hijacked by them in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday morning.
The pirates had hijacked the ship on September 15.
The hijackers had earlier demanded a ransom of six million US dollars for the release of the crew and later it came down to USD 2.5 million.
The ship is owned by a Japanese company and managed by the Mumbai-based Fleet Marine Ltd.
The International Maritime Bureau reported more than 24 known attacks in the area between April and June, and more have been committed in recent months. (ANI)

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