Tuesday, June 23, 2009

MV Marathon Released, Crewmember Found Dead

The MV Marathon, a Dutch cargo ship hijacked in May, has been released by its Somali captors, but tragically, one of its crewmembers was found dead and another wounded. Via AFP:
THE HAGUE (AFP) — Somali pirates shot dead a Ukrainian sailor during the hijack of a Dutch ship, the Dutch defence ministry said, adding that rescuers discovered the body when the ship was released Tuesday.

The pirates released the MV Marathon, which had been held since May 7 when the crewman was killed. The Dutch navy found the body when a warship met the vessel after it cleared the Somali coast.

Another of the eight crew members was wounded, ministry spokesman Marcel Pullen told AFP.

Pullen said the man was killed when the pirates took the vessel on May 7 in the Gulf of Aden. "The crew are all Ukrainian. They are all exhausted," he said.

The MV Marathon was being escorted to a "safe port" by the Dutch frigate De Zeven Provincien, the spokesman said, refusing to reveal the location.

The Dutch news agency, ANP, said a ransom was dropped to the pirates by helicopter. The ship's owners, Amons and Company, declined to comment. The Dutch foreign ministry said that its principle was never to negotiate with pirates or pay ransoms.

The murdered sailor was identified as Serhiy Vartenkov, a welder on the ship.

May God console Mr. Vartenkov's family and bring healing and comfort to the freed crewmembers and their families.

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