At least two dead, as pirates hijack yacht transporter with boat tested by MBY on board
A boat tested by MBY two years ago is at the centre of a dramatic hostage crisis after the ship it was being transported on was captured by Somali pirates.
The Maritimo M48 (seen below) we featured in the August 2009 issue is one of nine leisure craft on board the German-owned Beluga Nomination, which was attacked by pirates on 22 January.
One pirate and at least one of the ship’s 12 crew have already been killed in what is rapidly becoming one of the bloodiest incidents of piracy yet seen.
The latest developments came to light after two crew members staged a dramatic escape from the stricken vessel.
The two men, thought to be from Ukraine and the Philippines, stowed away on the ship’s emergency lifeboat and plunged 20ft into the Indian Ocean after the pirates executed one of their colleagues in revenge for a failed rescue attempt.
The two escapees have since been picked up safe and well by a Danish navy vessel 300 miles from the Somalian Coast.
Two other crew members are still missing after jumping over board.
The German-owned freight carrier Beluga Nomination was en route from Malta to the Seychelles with its precious cargo of yachts when it was shot at and boarded by pirates in a high-speed skiff.
The ship’s owners, Beluga Shipping, say all 12 crew initially locked themselves into the ship’s stronghold and sent out an emergency distress call.
After two and a half days the pirates succeeded in breaking into the safe room, taking command of the ship and its crew.
A Seychelles Coast Guard vessel responded to the distress call, tracking the ship from a safe distance before opening fire and killing one of the pirates.
According to shipping website TradeWinds, the pirates responded by taking three crew members aside and shooting one of them in cold blood, prompting some of the others to stage their escape.
The ship is now anchored off the pirates’ stronghold near Harardhere, Somalia while negotiators try to secure the safe return of the remaining seven crew members and the luxury yachts.
UK-based yacht shipping agents Peters & May are responsible for five of the craft on board estimated to be worth around £1.4 million.
MD Angus Bruce Jones said: “Peters & May’s primary concern is for the safety of the ship’s crew. We understand that Beluga Shipping are doing everything in their powers to negotiate for their speedy return.
“The five boats we are transporting are all fully insured and we are keeping our clients informed as much as possible about the status of this unfortunate situation.”
He added: “We transport yachts every week through this area and have never encountered pirates before. The yachts that are destined for the Far East and Australia are normally carried on very large container vessels travelling at speed with high inaccessible decks.
“It is very rare to have a number of yachts shipped to the Seychelles and unfortunately the Beluga Nomination is a smaller, slower vessel with the yachts visible on deck that has proven to be a more attainable vessel for the pirates.”