COPENHAGEN — Any attempt to rescue a Danish family captured by pirates in the Indian Ocean will result in their deaths, like the four American sailors slain by their captors last week, a Somali pirate warned yesterday.
Maritime experts said the Danes, a couple with three children ages 12 to 16, placed themselves in grave danger by sailing into pirate-infested waters off Somalia’s lawless coast despite warnings from naval forces struggling to police the area.
The family, along with two Danish adult crew members, was captured Thursday by pirates after sending a distress signal, the Danish government said, adding it was doing “everything in our power’’ to help them.
Abdullahi Mohamed, a pirate who said he has ties to the gang holding the Danish family, said they will be killed if any rescue operation is carried out. He specifically referred to the killings last week of four American hostages captured by pirates on their yacht.
The American deaths were a game-changer in the world of piracy. Somali pirates have captured hundreds of ships and thousands of crew members over the years; right now they have 660 hostages and some 30 vessels. But virtually all the hostages would be released unharmed after pirates negotiated multimillion-dollar ransoms for them and their ships.
Mohamed said pirates were discussing how much ransom to demand for the Danish hostages, and added that investors backing the pirate gang were angling for a large sum.