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Crew retakes ship from Somali pirates

Associated Press / June 3, 2010

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NAIROBI — The crew of a cargo ship owned by Libya pounced on their sleeping Somali captors yesterday, disarmed the pirates, and killed five of them to regain control of their vessel, which had been hijacked almost four months earlier, officials said.

A sixth pirate who survived the attack by the MV Rim crew managed to lock himself in a room and call other pirates to say they had been overpowered before the crew took him hostage, said Abdiaziz Aw Yusuf, the district commissioner in Garacad, a coastal town near where the MV Rim has been anchored.

A crew member was seriously injured during the struggle, the European Union’s antipiracy naval force said in a statement. The crew had reported to the force that they had retaken control of the ship yesterday morning. The EU said it is believed some of the pirates were killed during the confrontation.

EU force commander Rear Admiral Jan Thornqvist then sent the closest warship, the SPS Victoria, to provide medical assistance. A group of pirates on another hijacked vessel tried to block the warship, the statement said, but when the warship’s helicopter approached the pirates, they changed course although no warning shots were fired.

The MV Rim was seized Feb. 3 in the Gulf of Aden, outside the internationally recommended transit corridor patrolled by the antipiracy naval coalition. The 4,800-ton ship, carrying unknown cargo, is owned by White Sea Shipping of Libya. The number of its crew is unknown.

Somali pirates currently hold at least 20 vessels.

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