Thursday, February 10, 2011

Shipowner of Beluga Nomination says a Russian sailor could be dead

Current status of two sailors – a Russian and a Filipino – attempted an escape from MV Beluga Nomination captured by pirates is still uncertain; the shipowner admits both sailors are dead, said Wednesday press secretary of Ukrainian foreign ministry Alexander Dikusarov referring to German company Beluga Shipping GmbH (the shipowner).

It was reported late in Jan 2011 that Antigua-flagged vessel Beluga Nomination had been captured by pirates 100 km off Seychelles. According to Ukrainian foreign ministry, the 12-man crew consists of Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinos, and Poles. One of two Russians is from St. Petersburg, the second one lives in Kaliningrad, reports Baltic branch of Russian Guild of Sailors. 

At the same time there was information that two crewmen – a Ukrainian and a Filipino – managed to escape from hijackers. They had spent two days in lifeboats before Danish ship Esbern Snare founded them. Reportedly, pirates killed one Filipino hostage; other two crewmen are considered missed [their citizenship is uncertain]. It was also said that the ship remains off Harardhere, Somalia. 

"Status of two captives (Russian and Filipino) who also tried to escape is unknown. Representatives of the shipowner say most likely the escapees are dead. For the first time in the record of piracy incidents, captors consciously killed a crewmember", reported Ukrainian press service citing Dikusarov. 

According to the shipowner, currently pirates hold seven hostages including one Ukrainian. Beluga Shipping GmbH is in permanent contact with a shipmaster and other crewmen, and reports the physical state of sailors is normal. Also, the shipowner says the negotiations with pirates are in progress. 

MV Beluga Nomination is currently anchored off Somali port Harardhere. One citizen of Ukraine is still on board the ship.

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